M1 and M2 Busways - overview

The M1 and M2 motorways are the main approaches to Belfast from the west and north and are among the most heavily trafficked and congested routes on the strategic road network, particularly during peak periods. Hard shoulder bus lanes already exist on some sections of Belfast bound carriageways of the M1 and M2. This scheme will provide additional bus lanes on other sections of Belfast bound hard shoulders. These are being provided to help promote and encourage the use of public transport for travel into Belfast.

For information on how to use the bus lanes, click on the information leaflet

Current Position

Works started on site on 6 August 2018 for both upgrades to existing bus lanes and construction of new bus lanes.

Existing bus lanes were suspended and hard shoulders coned off, to make upgrades to signs and cameras. Work on the M1 between Applegreen Lisburn Services and Belfast was carried out early to allow these sections back into operation as soon as possible. These are now operational again from 16 November 2018, during the AM peak period, Monday – Friday, 7.30 am – 9.30 am.  Work on the existing M2 bus lanes will continue until March 2019.

New bus lanes are being added on both the M1 and M2 at locations described in the Background information below. Work on these will continue until March 2019. Part of this work is to construct new bus gates at the M2 off-slips at Fortwilliam and Duncrue Street junctions. These are also being constructed early to minimise the traffic impact at these junctions, although they will not become operational until the new bus lanes become operational in March at the end of the works.

During the works on both motorways, the hard shoulders will be coned off and a temporary 50mph speed limit will be in force. The hard shoulder can be used in case of emergency.

Details of hard sh M1 Bus lane night works image 2 oulder or lane closures will be notified on the TrafficwatchNI web site at the following link:

M1 Bus lane night works image


On the M1, the existing bus lane starts just after the Applegreen Lisburn Services and runs to Junction 3 (Blacks Road), and then from Junction 2 (Stockmans Lane) to Junction 1 (Broadway). On the M2, the existing bus lane starts before Junction 4 (Sandyknowes) and runs to the junction, and then from Sandyknowes to Hightown Bridge.

This scheme will provide additional hard shoulder bus lanes on both the busways leaflet image M1 and M2 motorways. The M1 will have an additional 4.6km of bus lane. This will be in 2 sections, from Junction 7 at Sprucefield to Junction 6 at Lisburn, and then from Junction 6 to the existing hard shoulder bus lane just after Applegreen Lisburn Services. The M2 will have an additional 2.2km of bus lane. This will be in 2 sections, from Junction 2 at Greencastle to Junction 1 at Fortwilliam, and then from Fortwilliam to Junction 1B at Duncrue St. These are shown on the attached location map document.

When the works have been completed the bus lanes will be available for use by buses and coaches with 28 or more seats, between 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, Monday to Friday and subject to 40mph maximum speed. Variable message signs will indicate when they are in use. During operational hours the hard shoulder will always remain available for use in an emergency by all vehicles.

More detailed information on the use of the bus lanes will be provided in advance of their opening. 

The scheme is estimated to cost approximately £4M and will be financed from the current 2018/19 budget.

Scheme documents 


Updated 30 January 2019

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