Transport update

agendaNi assesses how transport investment has progressed so far.

Transport is one of the main drivers of economic development and falls into the Investment Strategy’s network pillar which is in turn subdivided into five categories: roads, public transport, gateways, telecommunications and energy.

Some 75 per cent of the overall transport sum for 2008-2011 is for roads, with just under a quarter available for public transport and the small remainder for ports and airports (gateways).

During 2008-2011 a budget of £611.8 million was allocated for improving roads in Northern Ireland. The Department for Regional Development (DRD) told agendaNi that £496 million of this sum had been spent by 31 October, which was in line with the budget target.

Five major road projects were completed in 2009. The department confirmed that five projects were also completed during 2010:

• A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue, Newry;
• A4 Dungannon to Ballygawley;
• A4 Annaghilla and A5 Tullyvar, near Ballygawley;
• A29 Carland Bridge, Dungannon;
• A26 and M2 Ballee Road East, Ballymena.

Two major roads projects were still to be completed at the time of press. The A2 Broadbridge dualling in Derry was still under construction but was due for completion in December. Advance ground consolidation works had been done on the A32 Cherrymount Link in Enniskillen and the project was in procurement.

Public transport

When ISNI plans were first published, £195.3 million was set aside for public

transport from 2008-2011. However, a downturn in the economy meant that the budget was adjusted and the available funding was reduced to £161 million. Already £115 million of that has been spent and the department expects that the remainder will be spent by March.

Last financial year several public transport assignments were completed. A £12 million track life extension of the line between Ballymena and Coleraine, which started in 2008-2009, was finished in March.

By the end of this financial year, a total of 228 buses will have been purchased as part of the bus replacement programme.

Some projects have begun but have not yet been completed. The department said a scheme to purchase 20 new trains for the province is “well under way”. The first of the trains is due to be delivered in 2011 and will be in passenger service by the end of that year. All 20 new trains will be delivered and in passenger service by 2013. A train care facility at Adelaide station in South Belfast and platform extensions are also planned to accommodate the introduction of the new trains.

However, an upgrade of the train track between Knockmore (outside Lisburn) and Lurgan has been delayed because of budget constraints.

Source: Department for Regional Development

Despite a tough economic situation, several projects are still being planned within public transport. An upgrade of the railway line between Belfast and Derry is due to begin in 2012. It is estimated to cost £75 million and is earmarked to be completed by 2013.

Since 2008 the department has spent £3.8 million on the Belfast Rapid Transit project. ISNI outlines plans for three routes in the pilot project stage linking Belfast City Centre and the Titanic Quarter development, Dundonald in East Belfast and Glenmona in West Belfast.

The department is currently securing external support to complete the outline business case. A spokeswoman said the business case would identify the options for Belfast Rapid Transit’s network routes, procurement strategy, operating model and fare system.

The money allocated to gateways was split between a deep water quay and breakwater at Warrenpoint Harbour (£3.6 million) and runway safety works at the City of Derry Airport (£2 million). Both of these projects have now been completed.

Category ISNI 2008 – 2011 (£M) Budget remaining (£M)
Roads 611.8 115.8
Public transport 195.3 46
Gateways 5.6 0
All transport 812.7 162.8

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