Temporary relief road to be opened in Titanic Quarter to alleviate congestion caused by new bus lanes

Traffic was gridlocked during rush hour in the Titanic Quarter area of Belfast earlier this week. Picture by BBC
John Monaghan

A TEMPORARY 'relief road' is to be opened in the Titanic Quarter in central Belfast next week amid motorists' anger over congestion caused by new bus lanes.

As a short-term measure, Belfast Harbour said it will open a 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 following the introduction of 12 hour bus lanes earlier this week.

The 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.

By last night more than 2,000 people had signed an online petition calling for the bus lane to be scrapped.

The Catalyst Inc science park said that it held a meeting with various agencies yesterday to discuss queues which had caused "significantly increased travel times, inconvenience and distress to people".

A spokeswoman for Translink said: "We recognise there has been significant challenges for motorists in recent days and are committed to working with all stakeholders to resolve the issue.

"However, there is also strong support from all parties for the introduction of Glider and the many benefits it will bring for the area.

"Translink management will be visiting Catalyst Inc again on Tuesday August 21 to provide information to local businesses on public transport travel options available and on the new Glider service," added the spokeswoman.

The Department for Infrastructure said it has made changes to traffic light timings in the area and added: "Any change needs to be seen over a period of time to see what the impacts are on the traffic situation.

"At peak times, the road network in Belfast is at full capacity or over capacity......the number of cars on our roads will continue to grow and this will make the situation worse if we do not act."

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