Northern Ireland news

Changes to be made to bus lanes to ease Titanic Quarter traffic jams

Traffic has been gridlocked during rush hour in the Titanic Quarter area of Belfast this week. Picture by BBC

CHANGES are to be made to new bus lanes in Belfast's Titanic Quarter to help alleviate traffic gridlock.

There have been long tailbacks every day since the introduction of new 12-hour bus lanes.

As a short-term measure, Belfast Harbour said it would open a temporary relief road connecting Queen's Road and Sydenham Road "at peak evening times" to alleviate tailbacks.

The area, home to businesses, hotels and the Catalyst Inc science park and Titanic Exhibition Centre, has been gridlocked during rush hour.

Bus lanes have been brought in ahead of the launch of the Glider bus network, which is due to come into effect on September 3, linking east Belfast, west Belfast and the Titanic Quarter with the city centre.

Commuters have spoken of their frustration at how a journey to the city centre, which normally lasts 15 minutes, has this week taken three or four times as long.

The Department for Infrastructure last night said improved bus priority measures were critical to the delivery of the new Glider service.

As the increased traffic delays currently being experienced would also affect the operation of the Glider, it said, it has been decided to amend the bus priority measures in the area.

These changes involve suspending the city-bound bus lane on Sydenham Road opposite the SSE Arena and introducing, in the coming days, an additional section of city-bound bus lane on Queen's Road, south of the junction at the Titanic building.

"In addition, the department and Belfast Harbour will continue to work with partners in Titanic Quarter over the coming months to introduce new measures which will enable the Sydenham Road bus lane to be reintroduced. Translink will also be engaging with local businesses to encourage greater use of public transport and of walking and cycling where appropriate," the department said.

"At peak times, the road network in Titanic Quarter is at full capacity or over capacity. With the potential for new development, the number of cars on our roads is likely to continue to grow and public transport and active travel are a key part of the solution to the problems that gives rise to."

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