A further major milestone has been delivered in Belfast’s Grand Central Station construction project with the opening of a new busway bridge on 14 August. This bridge is a key section of the new bus lane providing a direct route for bus and coach services between the M1/Broadway roundabout and, initially, the Europa Buscentre, though ultimately serving Belfast Grand Central Station with its 26 bus stands once it is complete.
Designed by Arup and constructed by Graham, the busway bridge deck weighs 480 tonnes and has a span of 51 metres, which will cross the realigned railway lines serving the new station. It will also provide access to the bus engineering facilities on the site.
Philip Brown, Head of Major Projects at Translink, explained that around 400 bus services will travel across the new bridge on a daily basis when the new hub opens: “This busway bridge is an integral part of the bus infrastructure planned for the world class Belfast Grand Central Station. Its development has been visible to anyone arriving into Belfast Great Victoria Street Station by train or using the Westlink over the past number of months and we are delighted to officially mark its opening and the return of this bus passenger priority lane through the site,” he said.
“From today, passengers will see around 10-minute reductions on journey times when travelling on services that use this direct bus lane and busway bridge to and from Europa Buscentre. We’d like to thank them for their patience and flexibility while we worked to complete this part of the construction programme.
“Its completion also enables wider station construction works to progress efficiently. I would also like to thank and congratulate the entire project and operations teams for their hard work to deliver this milestone and also acknowledge the Department for Infrastructure for their essential funding to deliver this project.”
Contracts Director at Graham Andrew Henry added: “We’re pleased to have safely and efficiently delivered this sustainable new busway bridge, which provides a gateway to the station, and paves the way for the next phase of the Belfast Grand Central Station project.
“Like our previous projects with Translink, it will have significant benefits for the region, improving connectivity, driving economic growth, and supporting carbon reduction efforts in Northern Ireland. At Graham, we strive to deliver lasting impact, and are delighted that this scheme has also created job opportunities for new entrant trainees. Additionally, it has supported over 300 hours of apprenticeships and helped support local suppliers and businesses.
“Work on the wider transport hub is still underway, but it’s clear that this transformative project is already delivering real social value.”
Belfast Grand Central Station is expected to be a catalyst for regeneration through reconnection, supporting economic growth, prosperity and Northern Ireland’s climate ambitions, as well as driving modal shift and ensuring people are better connected while helping northern Ireland to achieve the carbon emission reduction targets set out in the NI Climate Change Act.
The new facility will become Ireland’s largest integrated transport hub, situated at the heart of the new Weavers Cross city neighbourhood.