21/08/2019

MLAs Call For Progress On Lagan Bridge

A cross-party group of MLAs have called for construction to begin on a new foot and cycle bridge across the Lagan.

The Lagan Pedestrian and Cycle bridge, first announced in 2014, would connect Ormeau Park to the city centre and dramatically improve connectivity from the southeast of the city, reducing traffic congestion and making it easier for people to walk and cycle.

Planning permission was granted in April 2016, but with laws stating construction must begin within five years, the MLAs fear the project may not get underway.

South Belfast representatives Clare Bailey of the Green Party, Paula Bradshaw of Alliance, Claire Hanna of the SDLP and Martin O Muilleoir of Sinn Fein said the bridge will reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and improve residents' health and wellbeing.

They said: "Building this bridge would open up the potential for many more people to walk or cycle into the city for work, to shop or for leisure.
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"It is the only City Deal-referenced project which has planning permission and should be green-lighted now.

"It would also connect different parts of the city, boost user numbers in Ormeau Park and encourage more pedestrians and cyclists to use the Lagan towpath."

Plans for the Lagan bridge have cost almost half a million pounds to develop, with an estimated further cost of between £7 and £9 million.

Sustrans Northern Ireland Director, Ashley Hunter said it has the potential to transform people's commute and air quality in the inner-city area. She commented: "Given the serious problems of car congestion in the city, we welcome the cross-party support for this bridge which will have a transformative effect on south Belfast by boosting walking and cycling.

"There is no reason why construction work should not begin straight away to complete this project.

"We would also like this bridge to be a catalyst for the full implementation of the Belfast Bicycle Network to provide safe cycling infrastructure, encouraging people out of their cars and making Belfast a truly sustainable, resilient city fit for the 21 century."



(JG/CM)

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