Published Friday, 08 June 2012
Cyclists and buses will be given priority over cars in Belfast on the Move. (© Pacemaker)
As part of the Belfast on the Move masterplan, more bus and cycle lanes will be introduced, roads resurfaced and traffic lights installed. There will also be changes to junctions, traffic flows and routes for Translink's buses, which will affect streets around the City Hall area.
Ciaran de Búrca, Department for Regional Development's Director of Transport Projects, said: "This is the first step in delivering a city centre where access by public transport is given a much higher priority and the street environment is tailored to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists rather than the private car.
"Around 30,000 vehicles per day travel through the city centre on the streets either side of the City Hall. About 60% of this is through traffic, with no final destination in the city centre.
"A full and comprehensive consultation process has been undertaken with appropriate legislation now in place for the delivery of all the measures being undertaken."
Roads Service are urging motorists to stay out of the city centre while the work is undertaken.
"There will be lane restrictions and in some cases localised road closures at off peak times,'' said Mr de Burca.
Work has been ongoing in the west of the city since January 2012 and work is now starting in the east of the City with a bus lane being introduced in Oxford Street, from Queens Bridge to May Street, May Street, Donegall Square South and Howard Street.
The roadworks, which are now starting on Oxford Street, will progress into May Street in mid June with the resurfacing of May Street, Donegall Square South and Howard Street, prior to the introduction of the bus lanes by early July.
Electronic signs will be put up at key points across the city to advise of road works and possible delays, while over the summer months Roads Service will erect signs to encourage through traffic to avoid the city centre.
In order to ensure the efficient operation of the new higher priority measures for public transport, there will be an increase in the level of bus lane enforcement throughout the city and particularly in the city centre.