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£8 million to be invested in Belfast City Council area

30 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy has announced a £8million investment for the Belfast City Council area this year.

Speaking ahead of this afternoon's meeting between Roads Service and Belfast City Council, the Minister outlined a number of major and minor schemes taking place in the City.

Mr Murphy said:

"Significant progress continues to be made on the M1/Westlink project. The Grosvenor Road junction was opened to traffic in March 2008, with the new slip roads greatly improving access to Belfast City Centre and the Royal Group of Hospitals. In April 2008, the new pedestrian footbridge across Westlink at Roden Street was opened. Meanwhile at Stockman's Lane junction both motorway bridges have been completed and improvements to the roundabout are programmed to be finalised shortly.

"This year Roads Service, together with Northern Ireland Railways will carry out important safety improvements to the bridge over the railway line at Finaghy Road North during the summer months.

"In addition to these high priority schemes, important minor improvements will also be carried out across the city. These include the provision of a safety barrier at Nelson Street; provision of a bus priority lane on the Antrim Road; traffic improvements at Finaghy Road South and a pelican crossing on the Falls Road near the City Cemetery. Building on a successful Safer Routes To School programme, where three sites were completed in the past year, a further four sites will be promoted across Belfast. Traffic calming schemes are also planned for the Kensington Road area, Clarawood Park and Coolnasilla Park."

The Minister also said that 2007/08 had been a successful year for Structural Maintence, after a strong bid by Roads Service for additional funds led to more than £17million of extra funding being allocated to this important function.

The minister added:

"The additional resources mean that around £75million has been invested in the structural maintenance of our roads last year and it is planned to spend a further £200million over the next three years. The maintenance of surfaces and underlying structures of roads and footway is essential for the social and economic well-being in all areas in the north.

"The Department will continue with its carriageway and footway resurfacing programme plus surface dressing and drainage improvements across the City." ENDS

Speaking at the meeting, Roads Service's Acting Divisional Roads Manager Ken Hutton said there were significant challenges to be faced.

"The Investment Strategy anticipates a large programme of trunk road improvements over the next ten years, with investment totalling three billion pounds. Roads Service is currently considering how this work will be programmed and delivered.

"Roads Service has also noted the recent decision on the reform of public administration and will be considering the revised working arrangements and structural changes that will need to be agreed and implemented by 2011.

"Despite these challenges, Roads Service will continue to concentrate on scheme delivery in the Belfast City Council area.

"To minimise the disruption arising from any works we will also be making every effort to give motorists advance warning of roadworks through signage and information prior to works. There will be updated information on our website and radio traffic reports,'' he said.

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