M22 (Northern Ireland)

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Route of the M22 (Northern Ireland)

The M22 is a direct continuation west from the end of the Northern Ireland M2's southern half. It's a decidedly confusing road, and you could be forgiven for thinking you were on the M2. Its number and route make sense in the context of Northern Ireland's original motorway proposals, but make no sense whatsoever in the context of the motorways that were actually built.

It serves as a bypass of Randalstown before returning traffic to the A6 towards Derry/Londonderry, and peters out in a slightly underwhelming fashion, finishing with a flat T-junction.

Its interface with the M2 might be the most interesting feature about it — it's certainly the most bewildering. The M22 doesn't take over where you'd expect, which is the A26 junction where traffic wishing to continue following the M2 would turn off towards Ballymena. That point is actually M22 junction 1, and the M22 has already begun. In fact, the junction between the two motorways is at a point where no junction exists — a place about half a mile east of M22 junction 1, where there is, even now, a gap between the carriageways, leaving room for the interchange where the M2 would have branched off northwards to Ballymena.

There have been suggestions that it would now make more sense to renumber the M22 as the main M2, and call the orphaned Ballymena Bypass M26 instead, but so far the Northern Ireland Roads Service has not showed any inclination to change the longstanding, but undoubtedly confusing, status quo.

Factfile

Start Antrim (M2)
Finish Randalstown (A6)
Passes None
Length 5 miles
Connects to M2

Images

Views of the M22 (Northern Ireland) from on and off the road. If you have a photo to contribute, contact me.

Thumbnail

A piece of Easyjet aerial photography, showing M22 junction 1 (basically the point the M2 ends, though really this happens further back). To the top of the image is the A26 towards Ballymena, to the right the M2 towards Belfast, to the left the M22. The grey area to the right of the roundabout is a Park and Ride site.
Photo by Wesley Johnston

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the M22 (Northern Ireland) were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section
1971 J1-2 Dunsilly → Ballygrooby
1973 J2-3 Ballygrooby → Artresnahan

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

Junction   Westbound               Eastbound
3 Londonderry
Magherafelt (A31)
Cookstown (A29)
A6
Randalstown
A6
WEST
A6 (A29, A31)
Artresnahan (T-Junction)





A6
N/A More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesSigns
2 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 2 miles, 2 lanes
2 Randalstown
A6
Portglenone (B52)
A6 Ballygrooby Roundabout (Roundabout Interchange)Ballygrooby Roundabout (Roundabout Interchange) A6
(B52)
Randalstown
A6
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes
3 miles, 2 lanes Up   Down 3 miles, 2 lanes
1 N/A A26






Dunsilly Roundabout (Roundabout Interchange)Dunsilly Roundabout (Roundabout Interchange)
M2
EAST
A26
(M2)






Ballymena
Antrim
International Airport
A26
Belfast
Newtownabbey
M2 Link
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanes LanesLanesLanesLanes

With thanks to Jonny and Wesley Johnston for information in this section.