New 12 hour bus lanes on the M1 and M2 motorways to open

Date published: 04 March 2019


New hard shoulder bus lanes on the M1 and M2 motorways will begin to operate on Monday 11 March following the completion of a £4 million scheme.


The new Belfast bound lanes will operate between 7.00 am and 7.00 pm, Monday to Friday, and are available for use by buses and coaches with 28 or more seats when they encounter traffic congestion on the routes, helping to improve journey times and service reliability for bus passengers. A maximum bus lane speed of 40mph will apply.

The scheme also includes variable message signs to advise when the bus lanes are in operation, upgraded CCTV and the introduction of priority signalling for buses at the Fortwilliam and Duncrue Street junctions.

Stephen Pollock from the Department for Infrastructure said:

“The investment reflects the Department’s policy to assist key bus and Park and Ride services on the M1 and M2 approaches to Belfast which have become some of the most congested sections of the road network, particularly at peak times.”

He added:

“Around 1 in 5 of the people heading towards Belfast on the M1 in the morning peak travel by bus and coach. These latest improvements mean passengers commuting by bus from Sprucefield to Belfast city centre can expect to arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlier than those travelling by private car. The new lanes on the M2, together with the introduction of priority signalling for buses at Fortwilliam and Duncrue Street will also have a positive impact on journey times for bus passengers approaching Belfast from the north.”

The work to the M1 lanes includes a revised road layout on the approach and exit of the Belfast bound Lisburn Services (Applegreen), with slip roads lengthened to allow buses to continue on the hard shoulder and merge with traffic leaving and re-joining the motorway.  Drivers and motorcyclists using the Lisburn services should take extra care as they become familiar with the new layout by checking for buses in the hard shoulder and only merging when it is safe to do so. 

At all times the hard shoulder will remain available for use in an emergency.

Notes to editors: 

  1. On the M1, 2 new sections of bus lane totalling 4.6 kilometres have been provided Belfast bound between junction 7 (Sprucefield) and junction 6 (Lisburn) and between junction 6 and Lisburn Services (Applegreen).
  2. On the M2, 2 new sections of bus lane totalling 2 kilometres have been provided Belfast bound between junction 2 (Greencastle) and junction 1 (Fortwilliam) and between junction 1 and junction 1B (Duncrue Street).
  3. There are now 14.5 kilometres of hard shoulder bus lanes operating on the M1 and M2 motorways.  The first was opened on the M1 in 1999.
  4. The work which began in August 2018 included the erection of new variable message signs and CCTV for monitoring.
  5. More information on the operation of the bus lanes and the new layout at Lisburn services is available at: M1 and M2 Busways - overview.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the Press Office, Department for Infrastructure, Telephone 028 9054 0007 or email Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  7. The Department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the Department’s internal records management system. The Department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The Department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.
  8. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook  @DepartmentforInfrastructure

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