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£400,000 plan to ease Belfast's SSE Arena traffic misery

By Lisa Smyth

Published 06/07/2016

The Odyssey Trust has announced plans to spend more than £400,000 on upgrading the congested roads around the venue in Belfast
The Odyssey Trust has announced plans to spend more than £400,000 on upgrading the congested roads around the venue in Belfast

The Odyssey Trust has announced plans to spend more than £400,000 on upgrading the congested roads around the venue in Belfast.

It is hoped that the project will bring an end to the lengthy tailbacks seen around the attraction, which are particularly bad before and after music concerts at the SSE Arena.

With 1,500 spaces available in the Odyssey car park, motorists and passengers can wait up to an hour to get on to surrounding roads after shows.

However, plans have now been submitted to Belfast City Council proposing the construction of a new roundabout at Queen’s Quay, in addition to a number of improvements being made to the M3 sliplane.

If permission for the programme of works is granted, the project is expected to begin early next year.

In its submission to planners, the Odyssey Trust said it had brought forward the roadworks to improve access and convenience for patrons going to events at the SSE Arena and to the wider Odyssey complex.

Brian Hughes, operations director of the Odyssey Trust, said: “These infrastructure works will provide enhanced access and convenience for patrons attending shows at the SSE Arena or visiting other parts of the complex, such as W5.

“We know roads can get incredibly busy when we have a big show at the arena.

“By making this investment, the trust has taken responsibility for making patrons’ experience of the venue even better. In addition to making our own improvements, it was important to the trust that we integrate our plans with Belfast City Council’s (BCC) proposals for a bus rapid transit system that connects the site to the city centre.

“We held pre-application discussions with the council to ensure there was consistency with BCC’s regeneration and investment strategy for a better connected city that promotes sustainable transport.”

The roads project is the latest  in a string of investments in the complex by the Odyssey Trust, which last year spent around £3m on refurbishing and upgrading the facilities at the SSE Arena.

The proposed roadworks are just the first step of a major redevelopment of the carpark and waterfront sections of the Odyssey site.

Pre-application discussions were held with Belfast City Council and the Department for Infrastructure’s Transport Projects Division to ensure the conditions of the outline planning permission were satisfied.

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