The scheme will provide approximately 14.7km of new dual carriageway: 7.3km between Randalstown and Toome and 7.4km between Toome and Castledawson.
Minister Chris Hazzard said: “My commitment to this area in delivering this £160 million flagship investment will strengthen the links between Belfast and Derry and positively develop the A6 as a key transport route into the wider North West area.
“Road users and the local community will directly benefit from this new all-purpose dual carriageway as it will reduce journey times and improve road safety.”
The news was welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which said it will have huge economic and safety benefits for businesses and local residents, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Seamus Leheny, policy manager for FTA in Northern Ireland, said: “FTA has lobbied for improvements to this route for a long time so we are delighted that the first stage of the upgrade between Randalstown & Castledawson will soon get underway. The A6 has been a constant source of frustration to our members in Northern Ireland due to the long delays many of them suffer when transporting goods on this road.
“An improved and more efficient A6 will not only reduce costs but will open up the north west region for investment, as the ability to get goods to market efficiently and cheaply is a key criterion in attracting such investment and growth.
“We will continue to lobby for further improvements to the A6, with particular emphasis on bringing forward plans for the development of a dual carriageway by-pass of Dungiven which already suffers from heavy traffic and vehicle pollution,” Leheny added.