York Street interchange - overview

This scheme will address a major bottleneck on the strategic road network, replacing the existing signalised junctions at York Street with direct links between Westlink, M2 and M3, the three busiest roads in Northern Ireland. It will also separate strategic traffic from local traffic movements via underpasses below the existing road and rail bridges and underneath a new bridge at York Street.

Current status

The Public Inquiry into the scheme was held in November 2015. Following an announcement by the Minister for Infrastructure on the 15 November 2016, the Inspector’s Report and the Departmental Statement have now been published along with the Designation Order and the Notice to Proceed. These documents can be viewed on the York Street Interchange webite using the link at the bottom of the page.

The procurement process for the York Street Interchange was progressed in parallel with the statutory process.

The tender process to appoint a Contractor to bring the scheme to a construction ready stage was completed in 2016 but was subject to a legal challenge. The Court ruled against the Department setting aside the Contract Award.  This decision was subsequently appealed unsuccessfully by the Department.

Having considered the Court of Appeal judgement in relation to the legal challenge to the procurement competition, the Department has concluded that it would not be appropriate to proceed with the award of a contract under this particular competition.

The Department intends to run a new procurement competition for the project and is currently reviewing the options for the new competition.”

Public Inquiry

Public inquiries were held in November 2015 into the environmental statement, draft Designation Order and draft Vesting Order.

Independant Assurance Review - Terms of Reference

The York Street Interchange is a road scheme to improve the flow of traffic at the confluence of two motorways and the Westlink. The Minister has made clear her commitment to the delivery of this essential infrastructure scheme, which is identified as a key Executive priority in New Decade New Approach. 

The purpose of the Review is to consider how best to proceed, in advance of moving to the procurement phase of the project. Through discussions with officials, specialists and stakeholders, you are, therefore, invited to carry out a Review to provide assurance to the Minister on how and to what extent the proposed scheme reflects and accommodates key Ministerial, Executive and Belfast City Council objectives and priorities (or could be adjusted to do so).

The review should focus on the scheme’s ability to deliver the following and consider any other issues highlighted:

  • The Minister’s priorities around focus on wellbeing, sustainable travel, creating thriving liveable places and communities, responding to the climate emergency and connecting people and opportunities;
  • The Executive’s priorities set out in New Decade: New Approach and the Outcomes Delivery Plan, and ;
  • The scheme’s strategic fit alongside the emerging policy context, for example, the Belfast Agenda, the Belfast City Council Development Plan Strategy and the emerging Transport Plans.

The outcome of the Assurance Review will be a report with a confidence assessment.

Independent Assurance Review – Outcome

The review was conducted by an independent panel in November 2020 and a number of recommendations were made. On 26 March 2021 the Minister announced that she accepted in full the six recommendations and outlined the proposals to address them. The six recommendations were:

  1. The YSI project brief should be reviewed and revised to ensure it aligns with the concept of “place making” and new best practice in terms of urban transport design, and with the Minister’s agenda.
  2. The wider area impact and benefits of the Project should be evaluated using appropriate quantitative and qualitative assessment mechanisms.
  3. The current Project costs should be updated to act as a benchmark to inform any decision on future alternative development.
  4. There needs to be a system of ongoing communications with all interested parties.  This should include updating the 2017 Communications Strategy and employing a robust Communications Structure now as well as during any construction phase.  Communications should be ongoing and not just point in time.
  5. There needs be much closer co-ordination both within the DfI and between DfI and other relevant departments and interested parties at both policy and delivery levels with regard to YSI development and delivery.
  6. There needs to be a co-ordinated decision made in the context of emerging policies, which then needs to be applied to ensure that the YSI project aligns to this context

The Minister has asked consultants to carry out some further work particularly around place making and to maximise ambition in terms of what can be delivered for communities, connectivity and the wider living places agenda. The consultants have been asked to report in the autumn of 2021.

Estimated cost

£120m – £165m

Scheme Image

York Street Interchange Scheme

Key dates

  • 26 March 2009 - Stage 1 Report approved by Roads Service Board
  • 1-2 June 2011 - Public exhibition
  • 25 October 2012 - Stage 2 Report approved
  • 6 December 2012 - Stage 2 report announced by the Minister
  • 28 January 2015 - Statutory Orders published
  • 9-10 February 2015 - Orders exhibition and objections received
  • late Autumn 2015 - Public inquiry announced
  • 14 May 2015 - Gateway 2 approved by TransportNI Management Group
  • OJEU and PIN notice published on 6 August 2015
  • Public inquiries were held between 10 and 12 November 2015
  • 15 November 2016 – Publish Inspector’s Report and Departmental Statement.

Scheme details

You can find out more about this scheme on the York Street interchange website.

Details last updated April 2021

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