Page last updated at 07:37 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 08:37 UK

Improvements 'move M2 congestion'

Sign at Sandyknowes roundabout
Improvements at Sandyknowes have improved journey times

The upgrade of the M2 has reduced delays at Sandyknowes but increased congestion closer to Belfast city centre at peak times.

The details were revealed by Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy.

He told the Assembly the improvements meant traffic was being "delivered much more quickly to the Nelson Street off slip and York Street junction."

The minister said the Roads Service has plans to provide major improvements to the York Street area.

In his answer to a question from the SDLP's Thomas Burns, Mr Murphy said things had improved at Sandyknowes roundabout which had traditionally been a congestion black spot.

"The early indications are that opening three lanes in each direction, between Sandyknowes and Greencastle junctions, has significantly reduced journey times on this section of the M2 and the approaches to it.

Widening

"The provision of an additional traffic lane on the Belfast-bound carriageway from Sandyknowes junction has reduced delays for traffic joining the M2 at this location, and this has improved journey times during the morning peak.

"This in turn has considerably reduced the queue of M2-bound traffic on Sandyknowes roundabout and improved the efficiency of this key intersection."

However, he indicated the Nelson Street/ York Street area is now a choke point.

"Traffic can now queue back along the M2 Foreshore from Nelson Street off slip in the morning peak," he said.

Plans for a major improvement at York Street will take up to 10 years to deliver but Mr Murphy said Roads Service will take some interim measures over the summer.

"This will involve widening the M2 bound carriageway of the Westlink, to provide a dedicated left turn lane to York Street, and extending the length of the existing M3 bound lane," he said.



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