It has been well documented that the construction industry is crying out for more large-scale infrastructure projects to be greenlit to provide some certainty about the pipeline of upcoming works and put the sector on a sustainable footing for the years ahead.
But while we await sign off on some of those big-ticket schemes, one organisation has continued to invest in a wide variety of infrastructure projects and has plans for projects that will have a transformational effect on Northern Ireland in the years to come.
Translink, Northern Ireland’s public transport provider, has seen more people choosing public transport as their first choice for travel, with passenger journeys topping 84.5 million across bus, coach and rail last year, the highest in over 20 years. The extra 3.4m passenger journeys removed over 2.8m passenger journeys from the roads and saved thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions.
That year-on-year growth has both been driven by investment in its product and also led to a need for further investment in new bus and train stock but also new physical infrastructure, including rail track and stations.
To give an idea of the variety of this work, some recent projects have included:
- The Lurgan Track Renewal Project, a substantial scheme to enhance and improve the railway line in the Lurgan area that will see 1.7km of track re-laid.
- Enhancement works at Portadown Park and Ride, a £2.4m projects to add 347 car parking spaces, CCTV systems and cycle storage.
- The launch of the iconic new £90m Glider service serving Belfast which has resulted in Translink carrying around 30,000 more passengers every week.
- The signing of a £50m contract to supply 21 new train carriages for Northern Ireland Railways which will be inactive passenger service by 2022.
- Work on the North-West Multi-Modal Transport Hub at the former Waterside Train Station in Derry.
The project has received funding from the European Union’s INTERREG VA fund, managed by the Special EU Programmes Board, with significant match funding from the Department for Infrastructure and the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport in the Republic of Ireland.
Translink also has significant investment plans for the near future, chief among them the new Belfast Transport Hub. Research has shown that modern, vibrant and growing regions have high-quality connectivity at the centre of their sustainable growth and development.
The Belfast Transport Hub is a multimillion-pound investment by the Department for Infrastructure will be at the heart of an exciting new city neighbourhood called “Weavers Cross” with imaginative mixed-use development concepts and designs created by Arup and John McAslan Partners.
The 8-hectare site beside the current Europa Bus Centre and Great Victoria Street Stations, it will be the region’s main transport gateway, with rail, coach and bus connections to all parts of Northern Ireland and beyond. The project, which will take 5 years to complete, received planning approval in March.