Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has cut the sod on the new Belfast Transport Hub, marking the start of the main works.
The construction contract was awarded after a competitive tender process. The enabling works were delivered by GRAHAM, the railway system works will be delivered by Babcock and the main works will now be taken forward by a Joint Venture of local construction company Farrans and global group Sacyr.
The project will deliver a modern, world-class integrated transport hub to enhance local and international connectivity with bus, coach and rail links across Northern Ireland and beyond.
The facility will also include cycle and taxi provision, delivering enhanced connectivity and comfort encouraging sustainable active travel for a healthier city.
Marking the start of the main works on site, Minister Mallon said: “This marks a ground-breaking step in the history of public transport for Belfast and for Northern Ireland as a whole. The construction of the Belfast Transport Hub, a key NI Executive flagship project, will significantly enhance the provision of public transport and active travel, drive economic development and play a major part in tacking the climate emergency.
“When completed in 2025 it will be the largest integrated transport facility on the island of Ireland and will help Belfast and Northern Ireland to grow as a modern, competitive, and confident region.
“I welcome the many, social, environmental and economic benefits this project, alongside the wider Weavers Cross regeneration project, will bring. As a major boost to the construction and engineering sectors in the north, with the generation of over 500 jobs and around £2.5million for social value through community partnerships, it will deliver immediate and long-term benefits for the entire region.
“I look forward to the completion of this project which will deliver so many benefits for generations to come.”
Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, outlined project expectations once it is completed: “This exciting new fully integrated transport hub will represent a step change for public transport. As a fully multi-modal transport facility it will improve connectivity for everyone in Northern Ireland and beyond and act as a highly impressive gateway.
“It will deliver a high-class customer experience including retail options and enhanced cross border connectivity for up to 20million passenger journeys annually. With the added benefits of active travel options, it will also play a major part in tacking the climate emergency, reduce congestion for better air quality, leading to a healthier, smarter and more sustainable city for everyone.
“Translink is delighted to see this project continuing to progress on schedule and we look forward to completion in 2025.”
Darrell McGuckian, operations director for Farrans Sacyr JV, said: “The sod cutting marks an important construction milestone on this significant project. We are pleased to meet with Minister Mallon and provide her with a tour of the Belfast Transport Hub site, as well as an update on our progress to date.
“Since the contract award, our team has been collaborating closely with Translink and utilising our joint office space to truly come together as one team. We have started engaging with local community groups, charities, businesses and schools to keep all stakeholders informed along the project journey and maximise the positive lasting legacy that comes with the development of the Transport Hub.”