The enabling works, delivered by GRAHAM, are nearing completion, the railway system works, delivered by Babcock, are underway and main works will be delivered by a joint venture of local construction company Farrans and global group Sacyr.
The new multi-modal Transport Hub will replace the existing Europa and Great Victoria Street bus and rail stations. It will provide greater capacity with an increase to 26 bus stands, eight railway platforms, enhanced walking and cycling connectivity, greater comfort and accessibility encouraging greener, active travel for a healthier, smarter city. The Weavers Cross development delivered as part of the project will regenerate the lands around the transport hub and facilitate economic growth and urban regeneration.
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During a site visit, Minister Mallon, said: “I welcome this latest exciting milestone for the ambitious Belfast Transport Hub project which is an economic, social and environmental game changer for NI. I have been clear that we need to see an increase in the use of public transport and encourage more people to consider active travel options so that we can tackle the climate crisis. To achieve that we need to have the right infrastructure in place.
“When completed the Belfast Transport Hub will be the largest integrated transport facility on the island of Ireland bringing together many aspects of how we travel including greener and cleaner travel by bus, rail and cycling. In addition users of the new hub will enjoy modern spacious facilities inside with a large concourse and enhanced retail space.
“With an expected annual footfall of over 20 million, this important NI Executive flagship project will bring a host of benefits to support the economy. It will improve connectivity for everyone in NI and beyond, and will be a key driver of social, economic and environmental wellbeing for the local and wider community. I also welcome the social value element of the contract with Translink and contractors working closely with stakeholders to provide employment and training opportunities.
“This project will therefore bring both immediate and long-term benefits for the entire region. I look forward to commencement of the main works and wish all our partners every success as we jointly deliver this key scheme for NI.”
Chris Conway, Translink group CE, explained: “This is the next progressive step in our journey to transform public transport, and we are looking forward to getting the main works underway. This hugely important project will deliver an impressive integrated transport facility delivering top-class customer experience including enhanced cross border connectivity. It will be a major transport gateway for NI, creating a sense of arrival for a modern, progressive region.
“We expect construction on the new facility to take around four years to complete. During this time over 500 jobs will be created, and the scheme overall will be a major boost to the construction and engineering sector in NI. Translink is also committed to delivering the social benefits from this project and we are working closely with Belfast City Council and local community partners to provide local employment opportunities.
“We are grateful to the local community in south and west Belfast for the positive way they have engaged with Translink as this project has evolved. We have built strong links with local residents, businesses, city stakeholders and political representatives for this scheme and we will continue to engage with them in partnership with our contractors throughout 2022 and beyond.”
Darrell McGuckian, operations director for Farrans Sacyr JV, continued: “We are pleased to be taking the next step forward in a project which will be integral in shaping the future of the city and promoting sustainable transport. We have an established relationship with Translink and we will continue our collaborative working approach.
“Social value will play a significant role during the construction of the Belfast Transport Hub and we will be engaging closely with community groups, charities and schools to create local employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities to deliver a positive lasting impact. We are looking forward to getting started on site and playing our part in bringing a fully inclusive and impressive facility to life.”
Andrew Henry, civil engineering contracts director at GRAHAM, outlined: “We are delighted to work on this transformative scheme that will be a key driver of social, economic and environmental regeneration for Belfast and facilitate the delivery of the development works within Weavers Cross.
“We have successfully progressed the essential early engineering works to get the site ready for construction and are now in the final stages of these works and associated projects. We’re proud to be working with Translink towards delivering the new Hub and to be leaving a lasting legacy for transport in the city.”
Steven Bell, rail systems director at Babcock praised the scheme: “Babcock is very excited to be a key partner as the rail systems lead to improve the transport infrastructure, integration and connectivity in NI and to work on this flagship project that will help to regenerate this area in the heart of Belfast.
“This is one of the most significant railway infrastructure projects carried out in the UK in recent years, with a major signalling design and build element, extensive track layout installation and incorporates the first phase of a centralised signalling control for Translink’s rail operations. Babcock is proud to be integrally involved in delivering this scheme, working very collaboratively with both Translink and the main building contractor to make a real difference.”
CEF managing director Mark Spence, added: “The commencement of the main works at the Belfast Transport Hub is a hugely significant moment. With the appointment of the Farrans Sacyr joint venture to deliver the project, Translink and the Department for Infrastructure will have in place an experienced team which, along with their extensive supply chains, will be ideally placed to build on the works already successfully undertaken by GRAHAM and Babcock.
“After many years of working towards this moment, we are now one major step closer to seeing the completion of this Executive flagship scheme which will do so much to transform our public transport infrastructure and create local jobs.
“Announcements like this are a significant confidence booster to the entire construction industry in NI as we seek to sustainably emerge from the challenges of the pandemic and the unprecedented material shortages and cost increases of the last 12 months”.
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