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Belfast in top 10 most congested cities in UK

Traffic chaos on the Westlink in Belfast. Picture by Alan Lewis/PhotopressBelfast

TRAFFIC jams in Belfast will cost motorists almost £800 million by 2025, with the Westlink at York Street interchange named as the worst section of road for congestion.

Transport information company Inrix identified the A12 (Westlink) eastbound at the junction with the M2 and M3 as the worst pinch point in the capital.

Analysis of the average duration, length and frequency of the hold-ups in September found that the impact of traffic hotspots would cost those driving through Belfast £797 million over the next eight years.

Time wasted in traffic jams across the UK will cost motorists £62 billion by 2025, according to Inrix, which identified more than 20,000 areas prone to bottleneck in 21 cities across the country

The worst traffic hotspot in the UK is in London on the M25 northbound between junctions 15 and 16, near Heathrow Airport.

Congestion will cost London drivers £42 billion over the next decade.

Edinburgh was in second place at £2.8 billion, followed by Glasgow (£2.3 billion), Birmingham (£2 billion) and Manchester (£1.9 billion).

Belfast was in 10th place, behind Bradford.

The estimated £62 billion cost to drivers of hours wasted in queues was calculated using value of travel time figures from a Department for Transport-commissioned report.

This was more than any other country in Europe, with Germany the next closest at £42 billion and Italy third at £19 billion.

Finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said last week that a £130 million motorway project to reduce congestion at Belfast's York Street interchange will go ahead.

Mr Ó Muilleoir's party colleague, Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard, accepted a recommendation from a public inquiry that the scheme to link the Westlink, M2 and M3 should progress in principle but reiterated warnings that Brexit had placed a question mark over funding.

Mr Ó Muilleoir said yesterday: "It remains a priority. We need to, and will, deliver the York Street interchange."

Inrix's chief economist Graham Cookson said identifying where delays are having the biggest impact can allow for the most efficient use of investment.

He said: "Let's make sure we focus spending on those worst-hit hotspots because, given the amount of money, we want to get the most benefit out of it."

The 10 UK cities with the worst impact from traffic jams, according to Inrix (cost of congestion by 2025 in brackets followed by worst hotspot):

1. London (£42 billion) M25 northbound between junctions 15 and 16

2. Edinburgh (£2.8 billion) A720 westbound Edinburgh Bypass at Dreghorn Barracks

3. Glasgow (£2.3 billion) Eastbound junction of the A8 Glasgow and Edinburgh Road with the M8

4. Birmingham (£2 billion) Northbound junction of the A38 (M) with the M6

5. Manchester (£1.9 billion) M60 northbound at junction 1 for the A6 Stockport

6. Bristol (£1.6 billion) M5 southbound at junction 20 for Clevedon

7. Leeds (£1.5 billion) Westbound M62 junction 26 with M606 junction 1

8. Cardiff (£1.1 billion) A48 westbound at Riverside Park

9. Bradford (£1.1 billion) From the A650 in the city centre to the A6038 Otley Road

10. Belfast (£797 million) A12 eastbound at the junction with the M2 and M3

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