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M1 busway to be extended from Belfast to Lisburn in bid to ease rush hour congestion

By Noel McAdam

Published 03/11/2016

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard
Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard

The motorway busway will be extended from Belfast to Lisburn in an effort to lessen peak period traffic snarl-ups.

The extension will go back as far as Sprucefield - an additional 2.2 miles.

Work on the project is not expected to get under way until next year.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said public transport had to be an effective alternative to driving for Belfast-bound commuters.

He also set out a range of bus services from Cookstown, Newry, Armagh, Enniskillen/Dungannon and Strabane/Omagh which should get commuters into Belfast between 9am and 9.30am.

He said: "It is recognised that the M1 corridor is a congested part of the road network, particularly during school terms.

"I believe that public transport must be effective in providing an alternative to driving.

"Translink currently offers a comprehensive range of daily rail and bus transport services into Belfast."

He pointed to the two park and ride facilities at Blacks Road, close to the city, and Sprucefield, which caters for 345 cars and has a dedicated express bus service during peak periods that uses the motorway hard shoulder to bypass traffic on its way into the Europa Bus Station.

"My department is currently in the process of trying to increase the size of this park and ride facility," Mr Hazzard added.

"We also have a proposal to extend the existing busway on the M1 hard shoulder.

"The existing busway, between Ballyskeagh over-bridge (near the service station under construction) and Blacks Road (Junction 3), will be extended back to Junction 8, where Sprucefield park and ride is located.

"It will operate during the same hours as the existing busway, from 7.30am to 9.30am, and provide improved journey times and journey time reliability to Belfast-bound commuters on buses.

"The scheme is currently being prepared for tender and it is anticipated that works will begin on the ground next year."

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