Misery for motorists after security alert near M1 at Lisburn's Saintfield Road junction
Christmas shoppers and commuters were caught up in rush hour chaos after a security alert on one of Northern Ireland's major routes yesterday.
The alert was declared around 3pm after a suspicious object was discovered close to the M1 at Lisburn's Saintfield Road junction.
Delays and diversions caused traffic jams all the way to Belfast.
As Army bomb disposal experts were called in, the country-bound section of the motorway was shut from Blacks Road in west Belfast to Lisburn sparking traffic delays of up to an hour-and-a-half for some motorists.
Travellers expressed their frustration on Facebook. Gabrielle Cairns wrote: "I'm due to have my baby at any day now and with the roads as they are... I'd be worried that I couldn't get to hospital."
At about 5.30pm police declared "nothing untoward" had been found and roads were reopened, although traffic was still crawling on Belfast's Westlink two hours later.
The PSNI recently ramped up security in anticipation of attacks by dissident republicans. In recent years, dissident activity has been stepped up at Christmas, with numerous alerts inconveniencing travellers.