The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has reacted positively to the news that Northern Ireland is set to receive an extra £400 million of funding for infrastructure. It comes as the result of a deal, which will see Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in support of the new Conservative minority government.
With this boosted investment into transport infrastructure, the FTA has stated that the deal presents a strong opportunity to upgrade the strategic road network in Northern Ireland. Particular focus has been placed on redeveloping Belfast’s York Street Interchange, which is often gridlocked causing significant delays to freight journeys.
Following the result of last month’s General Election, Prime Minister Theresa May came to an agreement with the DUP. The new arrangement sees Northern Ireland’s largest party lending parliamentary support to the Conservative government in return for £1 billion of additional funding over the next five years.
A breakdown of the funding – released shortly after the deal’s announcement – revealed that the bulk of the money would go towards revitalising Northern Ireland’s infrastructure. The deal also acknowledges the £165 million redevelopment project at the York Street Interchange in the heart of Belfast.
York Street Interchange project
The FTA has continued to voice its support for changes to the interchange, which connects the M2, M3 and Westlink roads to the city. The junction is commonly used by freight transport due to its proximity to the port of Belfast and the city centre. However, the currently layout all too often results in serious bottlenecking of traffic, ultimately delaying many freight journeys.
The scheme has held public enquiries over the last few years to determine how best to approach the junction’s redevelopment. With the advent of additional funding, the FTA is hopeful that work will start as soon as possible, confident that any financial burden will be eased slightly by the agreed funding from the UK government.