Glider expansion into Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough ‘progressing’

Antrim and Newtownabbey councillors are to be given an update on an expansion plan for the Glider bus service into the borough.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 11:36 am

Members were told at a remote meeting of the borough council on Monday evening that the Department for Infrastructure is progressing the business case for the expansion of the Belfast Rapid Transit project (Glider) into Antrim and Newtownabbey and Lisburn and Castlereagh Council areas.

The Department has now written to the local authority to advise that the Options Assessment Report (OAR) which considers the various route options for the Glider extension by the appointed consultants was “nearing completion”.

Department officials have been planning to meet with council representatives this month.

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The authority has already highlighted the importance of the expansion of the Glider service to Stormont to ensure that local priorities are included in the Northern Ireland Executive’s future priorities.

Recently, Antrim and Newtownabbey Mayor Councillor Jim Montgomery said: “On the Investment Strategy, we raised the strategic importance of Belfast International Airport. Transport and connectivity is a significant priority focus and we have highlighted the need for rail halts at Ballymartin, and the extension of the proposed Glider into Newtownabbey.”

The Belfast Region City Deal includes a proposal for phase two of

Belfast Rapid Transit to “improve the connections between North and South Belfast, neighbouring council areas including Antrim & Newtownabbey and Lisburn & Castlereagh and the wider Belfast”.

A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure said: “The Department recognises the success of the east-west Glider service and the contribution it has made to Minister Mallon’s drive to deliver sustainable transport infrastructure.

“In light of this, a proposal has been included within the Belfast Region City Deal for a second, north-south Glider route extending to North Belfast, South Belfast, Queen’s University and the City Hospital.

“The Department has worked closely with the relevant Belfast Region City Deal councils, partners and key stakeholders in taking forward a feasibility and options appraisal to identify the most viable north-south route options after which the Minister will consider the next steps.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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