Busway Bridge opens ahead of Belfast Grand Central Station completion

Olivia Rhodes-Webb Olivia Rhodes-Webb UKIMEA Press Office,London
14 August 2023

Marking a further major milestone, Belfast Grand Central Station today sees the opening of the Busway Bridge. The structure was designed by global sustainable development consultancy Arup as an integral element of the NI Executive Flagship Project, integrating the multimodal transport hub’s facilities ahead of planned completion in 2025.

The bridge’s opening symbolises a new chapter for Translink’s wider regeneration programme, including the major integration of Europa Buscentre and Great Victoria Street Railway Station, as well as the creation of a new city neighbourhood in the centre of Belfast, Weavers Cross.

Spanning 51 metres and weighing 480 tonnes, the bridge will cross the realigned railway lines serving the new station. The structural steelwork uses weathering steel, optimising the bridge’s durability by preventing corrosion, achieving both a design life of 120-years and reduced maintenance requirements. Giving the bridge a distinct rust-like appearance, this specific steel structure is the first of its kind on Northern Ireland’s public transport network and serves to be a new benchmark in sustainable infrastructure development.

The Busway Bridge was inspired by Arup’s previous work utilising the benefits of weathering steel for similar structures, including the renowned Bridge Street overbridge located at Newport Station, South Wales.

With the opening of the Busway Bridge, the transformative impact of Translink’s wider scheme will begin to be experienced by those in and around Belfast. Expertly constructed by GRAHAM, the bridge’s design harnesses Arup’s global experience in innovative transportation and sustainable development projects. Arup is immensely proud to be to be at the heart of the project, supporting Translink realise their regeneration and innovation ambitions in the delivery of Belfast Grand Central Station. Ahead of completion, the terminus continues to take shape as a central city landmark, harnessing the power of transportation and connectivity to deliver social, economic, and environmental equity. ” Chris Caves Director, Arup

Arup, Translink and GRAHAM team members at Busway Bridge Opening in Belfast Arup, Translink and GRAHAM team members at Busway Bridge Opening in Belfast
Laura Brady, Project Manager, Arup, Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive, Translink, and Andrew Henry, Contracts Director, GRAHAM at the opening © Translink

The overbridge is a key section of the new bus lane providing a direct, fast and efficient route for passengers using bus and coach services operating between the M1/Broadway Roundabout and initially the Europa Buscentre, ultimately serving Belfast Grand Central Station with its 26 bus stands once it is complete.

Around 400 bus services will travel across it on a daily basis when the new hub opens. This busway bridge is an integral part of the bus infrastructure planned for the world class Belfast Grand Central Station. Its development has been visible to anyone arriving into Belfast Great Victoria Street Station by train or using the Westlink over the past number of months and we are delighted to officially mark its opening and the return of this bus passenger priority lane through the site. From today, passengers will see around ten-minute reductions on journey times when travelling on services that use this direct bus lane and busway bridge to and from Europa Buscentre. We’d like to thank them for their patience and flexibility while we worked to complete this part of the construction programme. Its completion also enables wider station construction works to progress efficiently. I would also like to thank and congratulate the entire project and operations teams for their hard work to deliver this milestone and also acknowledge the Department for Infrastructure for their essential funding to deliver this project. ” Philip Brown Head of Major Projects, Translink

Belfast Grand Central Station will be a significant catalyst for regeneration through reconnection, supporting economic growth, prosperity and Northern Ireland’s climate ambitions. It will provide easy access to bus, coach, rail and active travel connections across the city and beyond, driving modal shift and ensuring people are better connected while helping Northern Ireland achieve the carbon emission reduction targets set out in the NI Climate Change Act.

We’re pleased to have safely and efficiently delivered this sustainable new busway bridge, which provides a gateway to the station, and paves the way for the next phase of the Belfast Grand Central Station project. Like our previous projects with Translink, it will have significant benefits for the region, improving connectivity, driving economic growth, and supporting carbon reduction efforts in Northern Ireland. At GRAHAM, we strive to deliver lasting impact, and are delighted that this scheme has also created job opportunities for new entrant trainees. Additionally, it has supported over 300 hours of apprenticeships and helped support local suppliers and businesses. Work on the wider transport hub is still underway, but it’s clear that this transformative project is already delivering real social value. ” Andrew Henry Contracts Director, GRAHAM

The world-class facility is set to be Ireland’s largest integrated transport hub, situated at the heart of the new Weavers Cross city neighbourhood. Bringing circa 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use space to a strategic location in the city, Belfast Grand Central Station will be the largest transport-led regeneration project in Northern Ireland, accelerating significant investment opportunities as a key economic driver for surrounding areas.