The Department for Regional Development (DRD) in Northern Ireland has awarded a road construction and service contract valued at £102m to a joint venture (JV) between Costain, Lagan Construction and Ferrovial Agroman.

Under the contract, the JV will design and dual the A8 road between Belfast and Larne, which is essential in providing services to the port of Larne and supporting and carrying over 17,000 vehicles every day.

UK-based engineering solutions provider Costain and its equal partners of the JV will also provide maintenance work once the project is completed.

Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie said the company will deliver strategically vital infrastructure projects from the initial design stage, through consultation and project feasibility.

"Our focus continues in working closely with our partners to deliver excellent outputs for our customers," Wyllie added.

The contract follows the completion of the early contractor involvement consultancy phase of the project.

The dualling work on the A8 road is expected to commence immediately and is estimated to be completed in the final quarter of 2015.