Belfast Telegraph

Proposed bridge to ease congestion

A new bridge is among proposals to ease congestion at one of Belfast's busiest traffic junctions.

The £125 million plan would create direct links between the Westlink, M2 and M3 at York Street, regional development minister Danny Kennedy said.

The York Street bridge may provide a new bus lane into the city and improved pedestrian and cycling facilities.

Mr Kennedy said: "This is one of the most ambitious schemes planned for Belfast for decades, and I would encourage everyone who cares about the development of our road infrastructure to get involved and take part in the public consultation process."

The York Street interchange can have around 100,000 vehicles using it every day.

The proposed improvements will separate through traffic from the local streets by providing direct vehicle links between the Westlink, the M2 and M3.

The cost is estimated between £125-£165 million and construction could take up to three years to complete, the regional development minister said.

The consultation period opens on Wednesday and closes on March 10. Depending on the response, a public inquiry may be held later this year.

CBI Northern Ireland director, Nigel Smyth said: "This is a vital link in Northern Ireland's strategic road network and is the cause of a significant amount of congestion on a daily basis.

"While it is critical that the project is taken forward with urgency the reality is that the construction and completion of the interchange is still several years away.

"We would encourage the minister to look at other traffic management measures in the meantime that can be introduced to help reduce the current levels of congestion along the M1 between Sprucefield and Belfast - this might include hard shoulder running, improving capacity at exits before York Street and improved phasing of lights."

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