A £1.1million extension to the M1 bus lanes has been completed and will begin to operate from Monday 10 August.
The scheme extends the existing Belfast bound bus lane by a further 1.7 kilometres, from the approach to Junction 8 at Blaris to Junction 7 at Sprucefield. This will mean hard shoulder bus lanes will operate directly from Sprucefield Park & Ride to Belfast city centre.
Welcoming the opening of the new bus lanes Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “The completion of this scheme is timely as we move into the Covid-19 recovery phase and more commuters are now returning to work. For people using public transport to travel to work this latest development will further improve journey times along this busy route into Belfast city centre.
“Using public transport is also good for our environment as it helps cut down emissions by reducing the numbers of cars on our roads.
“I’m pleased to announce that this scheme will be open from Monday helping us to reduce air pollution and better connect our communities into the greater Belfast area.
“I would also remind people using public transport that it is now mandatory to wear a face covering on buses as we all play our part in controlling the virus to protect ourselves and others.”
The scheme was part of a larger bus lane project that was opened in March 2019, which at that time added seven kilometres of additional bus lanes on both the M1 and M2 motorways.
The Belfast bound hard shoulder lanes will operate between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday, and are available for use by buses and coaches with 28 or more seats when they encounter traffic congestion on the routes, helping to improve journey times and service reliability for bus passengers. A maximum bus lane speed of 40mph applies.
The scheme includes variable message signs to advise when the bus lanes are in operation and CCTV to enable monitoring. At all times the hard shoulder will remain available for use in an emergency.