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Old October 13th, 2015, 04:37 PM   #1
belfastuniguy
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BELFAST | York Street Interchange

York Street Interchange
North Sea - Mediterranean Sea TEN-T Corridor Upgrade Belfast, UK
£100m - £135m

http://www.yorkstreetinterchange.com/





The Westlink, M2 and M3 motorways, which are key sections of the Strategic Road Network, are presently connected through a complex arrangement of traffic signals at York Street. This bottleneck presently causes significant congestion and delays for traffic travelling between Westlink and the M2 and M3 motorways at peak times. The junction will come under increased pressure to deal with traffic in the future.

In preparation for this, Transport NI has developed proposals to provide a grade-separated junction at York Street that would provide direct links between Westlink and the M2 and M3 motorways and greatly improve access between these roads. Plans to improve the York Street junction with Westlink are included in Department’s Investment Delivery Plan for Roads.




Overview
The Proposed Scheme would provide a fully grade-separated interchange to replace the existing signalised gyratory junction. Interchange links between Westlink, M2 and M3 would be provided in underpasses aligned beneath new bridge structures at York Street and under the existing Dargan and Lagan bridges. The existing North Queen Street and Dock Street overbridges and Whitla Street subway structure would be widened as necessary to accommodate the new road layout, with a new overbridge structure proposed at Dock Street. Retaining walls and piled embankments would be provided as required to support the new road alignments.
The new road links between Westlink, M2 and M3 would be subject to 40mph speed limits, with the existing 50mph speed limit on the M2 southbound carriageway extended north to the Duncrue Street off-slip.


M2 to Westlink
The M2 to Westlink movement would be grade-separated by passing over Dock Street on a new overbridge structure before dropping below existing ground level in an underpass structure. It would pass beneath links between Dock Street and M3, Westlink and M3, Lagan Bridge, Dargan Bridge and the new York Street overbridge. Two lanes would be maintained in the direction of Westlink. A merge would be provided from the Docks area (via a revised junction arrangement at Duncrue Street) that would provide strategic access for the Port of Belfast.





Westlink to M2
The Westlink to M2 movement would be grade-separated by passing under the new York Street overbridge (which requires the raising of this road), continuing with two lanes via an underpass structure towards M2. As the link approaches Dargan Bridge, it would rise to match levels on the existing M2 on-slip. To facilitate online widening of Westlink between North Queen Street Bridge and York Street overbridge, the associated Westlink embankment requires modification. To avoid works to replace the existing Little George’s Street retaining wall, a strengthened earthwork is proposed on the northern side of Westlink for a distance of approximately 100m, with a steepened side slope.




Westlink to M3
The Westlink to M3 movement would commence as a single lane diverge from Westlink to M2 alignment that passes under York Street overbridge in an underpass structure. The link would pass under both Dargan and Lagan bridges, whilst rising to pass over the M2 to Westlink alignment. A lane gain from Dock Street converges with the link, with the two resulting lanes continuing onto the existing on-ramp structure towards M3.




M3 to Westlink
The M3 to Westlink movement would be grade-separated by passing under Dargan Bridge via a new single lane link, passing between the existing bridge piers at approximately existing ground level. West of the Dargan Bridge, the link drops below existing ground level in an underpass. On approach to York Street overbridge, the link would rise as it passes under the bridge and continues to rise to join the M2 to Westlink alignment.




York Street
York Street would be raised above existing ground level as part of the works to accommodate the proposed underpasses. Two traffic signal controlled junctions would be provided at the intersection between York Street and Great George's Street, and at the intersection of York Street and the diverge from Westlink to York Street. Existing provision for pedestrians and cyclists on York Street would be maintained as a minimum, with an expected improvement for non-motorised users at the junctions from the removal of a significant volume of traffic. Access arrangements from York Street to adjacent properties would be revised to suit its raised level.
It should be noted that the proposed changes to York Street would reintroduce two-way running of a form to provide a new bus/cycle lane in the southbound direction, from Galway House to the Inner Ring. This would be further complemented by the provision of cycle lanes in both northbound and southbound directions between the Inner Ring and Dock Street.



York Street to M2
Two lanes would be provided in a new slip road from the raised York Street under the Dargan Bridge. In order to tie in with the existing M2 foreshore northbound carriageway, it is necessary to reduce the movement beyond the Dargan Bridge to a single lane that merges onto the motorway. The existing southbound connection on York Street to the M2 would be retained.




Connections to Local Street Network
Connections from the local street network to the new interchange links would be provided at Clifton Street, York Street, Dock Street and Duncrue Street in the form of on-slips. Connections from the strategic road network to the local street network would be provided in the form of off-slips from interchange links at Clifton Street, York Street and Nelson Street. The existing north-facing on and off-slip roads at Clifton Street would remain open within the proposed road layout.
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Old October 13th, 2015, 04:42 PM   #2
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PROGRESS UPDATES


11 Feb 2016: According to a Written Answer in the Assembly (AQO 9518/11-16), we now know for certain that the Public Inquiry Inspector has now completed his Report and this has been submitted to the DRD. The DRD will now examine the report and decide if they are going to change anything in their plans as a result. Once this work is done they will publish the Inspector's Report and their response (the "Departmental Statement") simultaneously. The Written Answer suggests this will happen in "spring 2016", ie within the next four months. This is very quick indeed (by contrast the DRD has still not published these documents for the A6 Derry-Dungiven scheme despite having had the Inspector's Report for almost three years) and proves that this scheme is indeed a very high priority within the DRD. She added that the aim was "beginning construction toward the end of 2017" adding that "this programme dovetails with the requirements for EU funding".

Meanwhile, work is well underway on the preparatory "York Street Interchange Advanced Works - Storm Chamber" project which is underway adjacent to the M3 flyover. It involves the construction of underground wastewater infrastructure within the York Street junction that will ultimately be used to take rainwater away from the completed junction.



23 Nov 2015: The Public Inquiry has now ended, after lasting approximately one week, plus some site visits. I managed to attend a couple of hours of the Inquiry out of personal interest - it was quite a lively affair, and the transcript will make for interesting reading in future years. Two alternative proposals were put forward to the Inspector, both claiming to offer fewer impacts on the local area, which the Inspector will now consider along with the more specific objections. Meanwhile, some exciting news - the initial phase of the construction tender for the scheme commenced yesterday. This is a two-phase process to appoint a contractor. This first phase, which closes on 12 January 2016, is to allow contractors to express interest in tendering for the scheme. Those who appear to be credible enough to carry out the work will then be invited to submit their actual tender. This second phase will be done out of public view, so after 12 January we will hear nothing more until the announcement that a contractor has been appointed, sometime later in 2016. The "contract duration" is given as 53 months, which is about four and a half years. Since we know actual construction will only take about three years, this presumably also incorporates the advanced design phase. A few points need to be stressed here. Firstly, this does not in any way prejudge the public inquiry - contracts like this are always worded in such a way that there is a break between the completion of design and actual construction, so if the Executive or the DRD decide not to proceed to construction, there is no contractual problem. Secondly, even if a contractor is appointed, construction will not take place until the Executive funds the scheme. So it's possible that - like has happened on the A6 from Randalstown to Castledawson - that the contractor could be appointed but no work actually take place on the ground. The DRD seem to be keen to begin work on the ground within 12 months - it remains to be seen whether the Executive will provide funding to permit this.


8 Oct 2015: The pre-inquiry meeting took place on Monday, 5 October to which all objectors were invited (see previous update below). It seems that only 33 objections were received which, given the enormous impact of this scheme on the locality, is really quite remarkable. Of these, 20 related to provisions for cyclists and pedestrians and 3 questioned felt that the A5 and/or A6 schemes should be prioritised. Also, a dedicated web site seems to have been set up for the scheme featuring all the information about the scheme and some videos.


14 Sept 2015: Information is now being circulated about the public inquiry which will take place from 10th November 2015 in Assembly Buildings, Fisherwick Place, Belfast. It will be led by Mr Jim Robb, who has chaired a number of recent public inquiries including the various A6 schemes. A pre-inquiry meeting is to be held from 10.30 am on 5th October in the same venue. It seems that anyone who wants to address the public inquiry is expected to turn up at this pre-inquiry meeting and also to supply a copy of all evidence that they intend to give to the inquiry by this date. This gives less than a month for any objectors to write and submit their evidence. I am not sure that objectors can be compelled to hand their evidence over to the inquiry in this way, but I can understand the Inspector's desire to request this. In related news, a future tender has appeared on the DRD web site for what is called "York Street Interchange Advanced Works - Storm Chamber", which appears to involve the construction of an underground drainage chamber adjacent to the M3 viaduct. It is estimated to be released for tender this month. It's not clear why these works aren't bundled in with the main construction tender, but it could be that it is somehow critical to the schedule of works and that having it constructed ahead of the main scheme could speed things up. The DRD must be very confident that the scheme will pass the public inquiry if they are prepared to issue tenders like this ahead of the inquiry!




Progress reports courtesy of Wesley Johnston's Northern Ireland Road Site
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Old October 13th, 2015, 06:49 PM   #3
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EU funds will be at most £10-15m for this project. The remainder will have to come from the NI Capital budget. I doubt if any other major road will be built elsewhere in NI this side of 2018 unless the Inspector rejects this project completely and so freeing up money for a bit of the A5 or A6
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Old October 13th, 2015, 06:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponge_bob View Post
EU funds will be at most £10-15m for this project. The remainder will have to come from the NI Capital budget. I doubt if any other major road will be built elsewhere in NI this side of 2018.
There's not many major road projects planned, some such as the A2 and A8 are recently complete or nearly complete, and only one other major project that could be funded before this, the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson dualling scheme

Work on York Street is unlikely to happen before the autumn of 2016

Current and planned schemes can be found here

I don't see anything happening with the A5 unless the Irish Government contribute to costs. That entire project has been woefully managed and the money that was set aside for it has now been redistributed elsewhere. I don't expect York Street to be refused, they'll likely have to improve cycle provision but apart from that I see it being given the green light.
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Old October 13th, 2015, 07:36 PM   #5
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The '€400m for the A5 and A8' promise was made when Transport capital expenditure in the south ran at €4bn in 2007 and in 2008. That expenditure is nearer €1bn now and there is a backlog of maintenance to be covered too. Our banks took the lot.

NIs population is higher than ever, projected to reach around 1.9m in 2016 IIRC and with most east of the Bann, around 3/4 of them or so.

Even County Galway has a population greater than Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh together nowadays.
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Old October 15th, 2015, 04:30 AM   #6
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How much will this cost? The A5 is more important, especially in providing a link between Derry and the country's capital Dublin, the last city to get such a high quality link. So it makes you wonder where the priorities lie for some parties in Stormont.
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Old October 15th, 2015, 09:58 AM   #7
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The A5 also provides continous HQDC or Motorway Derry-Belfast via Dungannon while avoiding the Glenshane pass in winter.
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Old October 15th, 2015, 12:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriel View Post
How much will this cost? The A5 is more important, especially in providing a link between Derry and the country's capital Dublin, the last city to get such a high quality link. So it makes you wonder where the priorities lie for some parties in Stormont.
Between £100-125m, the final figure won't be known until the public inquiry has been completed, any resulting recommendations costed and a contractor appointed.

The A5 is important but it's currently dead in the water after the 2013 High Court ruling. £72m has already been spent on it and it's expected to cost upwards of £980m. Without significant funds from Dublin and possibly the EU this road project is going no where at the minute.

Since the 2013 ruling new environmental surveys have been commissioned and the project has not been cancelled but has been delayed.
There's a good summary of updates here - http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/roads/...hstrabane.html
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Old November 30th, 2015, 09:40 PM   #9
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Any chance that when this is all finished the Westlink is renamed M1 and the M3 becomes M2?

Never understood why the M3 wasn't just M2 to begin with!
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Old December 5th, 2015, 06:45 PM   #10
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They are talking about upgrading the Dee Street junction on the Sydenham Bypass because that's the next bottleneck after York Street. Possibly upgrade the Sydenham Bypass to motorway standard?
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Old December 8th, 2015, 03:46 PM   #11
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When is this likely to go ahead?
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Old December 8th, 2015, 04:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
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They are talking about upgrading the Dee Street junction on the Sydenham Bypass because that's the next bottleneck after York Street. Possibly upgrade the Sydenham Bypass to motorway standard?
That's not happening for a while, Work unlikely to happen until about 2019 at the earliest.


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When is this likely to go ahead?
Public enquiry will publish ruling in the coming month or two. Based on the decision and any recommendations final design work will begin. Work is likely to commence in late 2016
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Old March 16th, 2016, 12:45 AM   #13
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Recent progress in second post.

This from the DRD Minister today




I'd imagine some money that will be given to NI as part of the Barnett Formula may go toward this project. NI receives additional funding if capital projects, such as HS2 and Crossrail, in Britain have no benefit for NI. Might see more info on this in the Chancellor's budget statement tomorrow
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Old June 24th, 2016, 12:48 PM   #14
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Unlikely to proceed any further for the foreseeable future. Up to 40% of funding was expected from the EU
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Old June 26th, 2016, 12:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belfastuniguy View Post
Unlikely to proceed any further for the foreseeable future. Up to 40% of funding was expected from the EU
Well, EU funding is merely some of the UK contribution being returned...but yeah - hard to see London funding this.

Also I'm amazed (but not opposed) that a motorway interchange so close to the city centre actually got approval....imagine trying that in Dublin!
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Old November 16th, 2016, 05:31 PM   #16
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Fly-through videos added to first post.

I'm expecting the infrastructure spending splurge to be announced by the UK Chancellor in the Autumn Statement will possibly allow for this to make progress thanks to the Barnett consequential. We'll see....

The public inquiry recommended changes to allow for much improved cycle provisions on York Street, those have been accepted and designs amended.


Quote:
York Street: Plans advance for £130m scheme despite funding concerns
15 November 2016


The infrastructure minister is advancing plans for the major York Street Interchange project in Belfast, despite uncertainty around its funding. Chris Hazzard said he accepts the findings of a public inquiry held into the £130m scheme last year.
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Old November 16th, 2016, 10:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponge_bob View Post
EU funds will be at most £10-15m for this project. The remainder will have to come from the NI Capital budget. I doubt if any other major road will be built elsewhere in NI this side of 2018 unless the Inspector rejects this project completely and so freeing up money for a bit of the A5 or A6
Still compares favourably per capita with the projects due to start in the South in 2017....approximately none!
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Old June 26th, 2017, 01:26 PM   #18
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Reckon this will go ahead now with the DUPs money?
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Old June 26th, 2017, 02:04 PM   #19
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Apparently so..

https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...rn_Ireland.pdf
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Old June 26th, 2017, 02:04 PM   #20
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YSI will be going ahead.

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