The new service station on the M1 between Belfast and Lisburn has opened, 54 years after the motorway itself.
The 24-hour Applegreen facility took its first customers at around 4pm today, with the News Letter the only media in attendance.
The service station is on the countrybound side of the road between the Black’s Road junction at Dunmurry and the Saintfield Road junction at Lisburn.
There is a petrol station, a shop, a Subway, a Burger King, a Greggs snack stall, a Bakewell hot food point and a Chopstix noodle bar.
There is an escalator, a lift and stairs to an upstairs area with a balcony overlooking the main foyer.
The upper level has both a cafe and a “quiet area”.
Outside, the service station has a children’s play area, a truck stop and parking for hundreds of vehicles.
The Templepatrick Applegreen station on the M2 countrybound opened last year and has been an immediate commercial success.
There are also four such service stations on the southern M1 motorway between the border and Dublin, two on each side.
When that route was completed almost a decade ago, there was criticism of the fact that it had no service stations for long-distance motorists until the Applegreen facilities opened several years later.
But the 38-mile M1 between Belfast and Dungannon has had no service station located directly off the motorway until now.
The new premises are the first section of the road to open, which was completed between Broadway and Saintfield Road in July 1962, the first motorway anywhere in Ireland.