The first key milestone in the construction of the new Belfast Transport Hub has been reached.
The multi-million transport led regeneration project will see the transformation of the 8-hectare city centre site.
It is set to deliver a modern, high quality integrated transport hub to enhance local and international connectivity with bus, coach and rail links across Northern Ireland and beyond.
Now, it has been confirmed that the first stage of work on the Enabling Works phase has been delivered, clearing the site ready for the main build.
In this first stage of the development, extensive work has been carried out to successfully move the current bus engineering and operations facilities to new accommodation.
It has also seen the construction of a new bus wash facility, a new engineering garage, storage facilities and bus parking area.
Construction and civil engineering contractor GRAHAM’s contracts manager, Andrew Henry, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved the first major milestone in the delivery of the BTH project.
“We have worked in close collaboration with Translink’s project and operational teams to complete this complex phase. Working in a live operational environment, sensible steps have been taken to minimise the overall disruption especially to Translink’s operational staff, passenger services and neighbours in the adjoining residential and business communities.
“Our staff have also responded well to the range of additional Covid measures in place to allow us to keep this impressive new transport hub project on track.”
The Enabling Works phase is due to complete late 2021.
Designed to be a multi-modal hub, the hub will transform public transport, facilitating greater capacity with an increase to 26 bus stands, 8 railway platforms, cycle and taxi provision.
The Main Works and Infrastructure enhancement phases of the project are due to start in 2022 and be completed by 2025.
Translink Group CEO, Chris Conway said: “This is a significant milestone in the Enabling Works Programme which has seen the construction of a new bus wash facility, a new engineering garage, storage facilities and bus parking area. The move makes way for the next stage of works that will see an intensive period of culvert and utility diversions.
“We have also completed a range of other activities including ecology surveys, ground remediation works and drainage activities. Work is progressing well, and we expect this phase to be completed by the end of the year.”
Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon added: “Our public transport network is vital in our recovery from Covid-19 both economically and socially. The hub will bring together many aspects of how we travel including greener and cleaner travel by cycling, bus and rail. As we work to better connect communities across this island, it is my ambition to provide more choices for citizens too, so that access to more sustainable modes of transportation is not a luxury for the few, but an option for the many.
“By working in partnership we can transform our public transport network and the opportunities for citizens to use active and sustainable travel.
“I welcome the significant progress on this ambitious project. The construction of the Belfast Transport Hub, a key NI Executive Flagship project will provide a step change in the provision of public transport, drive economic development and play a major part in tacking the climate emergency.
“This will be vital as we build back healthier, greener and cleaner from Covid-19.”