Northern Ireland

Two Belfast roads among 10 most congested in Britain and Northern Ireland

Traffic builds on the Westlink in Belfast during rush hour
Traffic builds on the Westlink in Belfast during rush hour

BELFAST has two of the 10 most congested roads anywhere in Britain and Northern Ireland, according to a new traffic study.

The Lisburn Road southbound from College Gardens to Wallace Park was the most congested road outside of London, according to the Inrix study for 2016.

Drivers spent on average 49 hours in gridlock over the year, making it the sixth most congested route in the UK.

The A24 from the Ormeau Road to Ann Street in the city centre came ninth in the congestion table.

While it was busiest in the morning, the Lisburn Road was busiest in the afternoon.

However, Belfast did not feature in the 10 most congested cities – despite being ranked third by Inrix in 2015.

The latest study analysed 87 cities and large urban areas as part of a wider survey of 1,064 cities in 38 countries worldwide.

The UK ranked as the fourth most congested developed country in the world and the third in Europe, with drivers spending an average of 32 hours a year in congestion during peak hours.

Inrix estimated that the direct and indirect costs of congestion for drivers in Britain and Northern Ireland totalled £30.8bn in 2016, an average of £968 per driver.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said infrastructure is one of the biggest issues raised by its members.

"Businesses rely on having infrastructure and transport routes in place whereby goods and products can be moved efficiently and without extra costs from one location to another," she said.

"Therefore it is vital that key projects across the country, for example the York Street Interchange, A5, A6 and the Belfast Transport Hub, all proceed which will ease traffic congestion and in the process help businesses with their operational costs, supply chain efficiency and overall productivity."