The delay to the York Street junction upgrade is a blow to a crucial infrastructure project.
A legal challenge is ongoing in relation to the procurement process.
The junction, which will make all movements freeflowing between the Westlink/M1, M2 and M3/Sydenham bypass, will be all the more important with new 12-hour bus lanes on coming ‘Glider’ routes.
Ben Lowry: Belfast-Londonderry road will get major boost when two sections open
We want motorists to be prepared to make big sweeping, but swift, excursions around the city where feasible — to be prepared to travel a little further out to a fast outer road that has few interruptions.
I also have much more ambitious orbital plans that merely Westlink and York Street: to see Sydenham bypass upgraded to three lanes with flyover junctions at Dee St and Tillysburn.
Then key junctions on the ‘outer ring road’ through east and southeast Belfast, such as Knock and Forestside, made flyovers too and a dual carriageway parallel to Hilhall Road, towards the M1, and linking to the motorway, allowing traffic to go outbound to the West or back into towards the Westlink and city and York Street junction.
It is a radical plan that would cost a lot of money and disruption but traffic would then be inclined to make an effort to get to the ring road to get around the city.
We would do it if serious about diverting traffic from Belfast.
• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor