Westlink & M1 upgrade Belfast -
Past Progress Reports Oct 2007 - Feb 2008

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This is a sub-page giving additional information on the Westlink upgrade.

This page is an archive of old progress reports.

For the final progress reports, after late July 2008, click here.

For the progress reports from February 2008 to early July 2008, click here.

For the progress reports from July 2007 to September 2007, click here.

For the progress reports from March 2007 to June 2007, click here.

For the progress reports from December 2006 to February 2007, click here.

For the earliest progress reports, up to November 2006, click here.

1 Feb 2008

On Tuesday (28 Jan) the contractors "broke through" at Broadway, meaning that the excavation of the material from the underpass is almost completed. In this press release it was revealed that the underpass will be open to traffic in "late Summer 2008". Certainly the contractors have done very well indeed to do so much complicated work at Broadway in the past two years. The same press release stated that the new sliproads at Grosvenor Road will open in March 2008. Motorists should be aware that the new offslip will only be accessible to traffic coming from the M1, and vehicles will only be able to join the Westlink to head towards the M1. North-facing sliproads could not be provided due to the proximity of Divis Street junction. Although the M1/Westlink scheme is certainly "ahead of schedule", they are also saying that all the works associated with the scheme will not be completed until "November 2009". Currently we expect all the new roads to be fully open by March 2009.

The official photograph of members of the construction team in
the Broadway underpass, 28 Jan 2008 [HMC].

20 Jan 2008

The project is passed its two-year-versary on Jan 17th, and enters its third calendar year. Work is still progressing well. At Stockman's Lane, the sliproads and bridges are all complete, leaving only some sign gantries on the motorway to go in. Work has now begun to rebuild the roundabout underneath which has been a mess of cones and potholes for months. New kerbing is appearing on the inner edge of the roundabout. Although work here was originally due to be completed in January 2008, it looks unlikely that this will happen. On the M1, not much has visibly changed since Christmas although the widened motorway here looks largely complete with the central reservation mostly in place, leaving only signage, a final layer of tarmac and the lane/hard shoulder markings to be put down. At Broadway, work has presumably continued on excavating the underpass although it is impossible to tell as there is no easy vantage point to see the south end. The three enormous pipes that spanned the northern side of the underpass (visible picture on 16 Dec below) in are now gone. If these were carrying services then they have likely been rerouted across the new bridge deck. Work is now underway to build the "final" roundabout on top of the Broadway underpass with a line of kerbing in place at the north eastern edge (see pic below). At Grosvenor Road, the two sliproads have been surfaced and signage in place. The bridge itself still needs work, namely further pedestrian facilities and completion of the walls on the approach ramps, but the target opening date of March 2009 looks achievable. Work has begun to lay the final layer of tarmac on the Westlink through the underpass and painting the final lane markings. It now looks as if there will be *no* hard shoulder on the Westlink through the Grosvenor underpass. Finally, the first new direction sign on the scheme, which is on the Grosvenor Road, proves once and for all that the Westlink will remain the A12 and will not have motorway restrictions (see pic below).

Pic 1 - Kerbing for the "final" layout of Broadway roundabout taking shape on top of the underpass roof on 20 Jan 2008. Looking south west. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 2 - View north (towards Divis Street) at Grosvenor Road on 20 Jan 2008. Note the final layer of tarmac that has been laid on the left proving that there will be no hard shoulder. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 3 - New sign on the Grosvenor Road bridge on 20 Jan 2008 proving that the upgraded Westlink will retain the A12 designation. [Wesley Johnston]

Pic 4 - The southbound onslip to the Westlink seen from Grosvenor Road on 20 Jan 2008, here almost completed. The underpass is to the right. [Wesley Johnston]

30 Dec 2007

As the project reaches the end of its second year, with the most feverish period of work now seemingly over, this is just a quick note to comment that the old central reservation on the M1 motorway between Stockman's Lane and Broadway is now completely gone, leaving the new one on its own. Both carriageways have now been surfaced so it should be straightforward to mark out the hard shoulders and 3 running lanes in each direction. All three may not open for a while, however, since the junctions at each end of this stretch are still being upgraded. In time terms the whole project is now 54% complete.

16 Dec 2007

In the past week the new countrybound M1 bridge at Stockman's Lane was opened to traffic, marking the completion of both bridges. Since most of the retaining walls on the sliproads seem to be completed (see picture below), all that remains to be done is to tidy up the roundabout. If the scheme is on schedule, then it will be completed by the end of January. Meanwhile, at Broadway, with the permanent slab (underpass roof) now complete work has finally begun on excavating the tunnel itself, starting at the northern side. Both of the approach ramps to the underpass have been excavated and work has begun on putting the final cladding on the sides. However a heavy rain shower on the afternoon of 10 December seemed to overwhelm the entrance to the new Clowney river culvert on the north western side of the roundabout, resulting in the water level rising and flooding the western side of the site with up to 2 feet of flood water. When I explored the site a week later, there was still a layer of silt on the ground with tide marks on the signs and fences. The water also may have eroded a channel around the side of the entrance to the Clowney culvert which was apparent today. Hopefully the flood was a result of the incomplete nature of the works. With the new footbridge now open at Roden Street, local residents have been reporting that youths are using the bridge to cross the Westlink and attack homes and then escape. Some have called for gates to be installed so that the bridge can be closed at night. At Grosvenor Road, all traces of the supports for the temporary bridge are now gone. The kerbing and foundation surfaces of the two sliproads are also well advanced, while traffic islands and the poles for signs and traffic lights have been erected where they will join Grosvenor Road. In time terms the project is now 51% complete, although the roads should be fully open by March 2009.

Both bridges now complete and open at Stockman's Lane on 16 Dec 2007. [Wesley Johnston]

The vertical side of the countrybound offslip at Stockman's Lane on 16 Dec 2007. [Wesley Johnston]

Excavation of Broadway underpass finally underway on 16 Dec 2007.
This is the northern side of the underpass. [Wesley Johnston]

The northern ramp down into Broadway underpass, with the final cladding being fastened to the underpass walls on 16 Dec 2007. [Wesley Johnston]

Tbe view south from Grosvenor Road flyover on 16 Dec 2007. [Wesley Johnston]

18 Nov 2007

Much progress has been made over the past month - see pictures below. At Grosvenor Road, the last section of the temporary bridge has now gone and local traffic is using the new bridge. Work has advanced well on the future offslip, although less work has taken place on the accompanying onslip. For pedestrians, the bridge walls are about 4 feet high but artistic blue metal frames are being added to raise this to about 8 feet. Uplighters have been put in place to light up these frames, although unfortunately these seem to have been systematically smashed by vandals. Vandalism has become a major problem in recent months and this week the newspapers were reporting that attacks on workers, mostly by youths from west Belfast, are occuring on a daily basis with bricks and other missles being thrown onto the sites. At Roden Street, the eastern ramps/steps for the new footbridge are completed with work still to be completed on the hospital side. At Broadway, the permanent roof slab over the underpass is almost complete with just one section still to be cast. Once complete, the roundabout will be reconstructed on top and the underpass excavated. The approach ramps to the underpass are now well advanced on both sides. At Stockman's Lane, work is progressing well, with work seemingly close to completion on the countrybound M1 bridge structure, just leaving the motorway itself to be reconstructed on top. Re-alignment work on both north-facing sliproads (to take account of the wider motorway) has now been largely completed. The project is now exactly 50% complete, although the roads will open prior to final completion. For those interested, Google Maps has updated its aerial pictures of Belfast to early May 2007, so you can now see what the Westlink roadworks looked like at that time.

Traffic using the new Grosvenor Road bridge in mid Nov 2007, looking towards the city centre. The pillars of the temporary bridge are visible on the right. [Wesley Johnston]

View north (towards Divis St) at Grosvenor Road in mid Nov 2007. [Wesley Johnston]

View south (towards Broadway) at Grosvenor Road in mid Nov 2007. Workers are removing the structures that held the temporary bridge in place. [Wesley Johnston]

The stylish ironwork that forms the railings of the Grosvenor Road bridge and unfortunate vandalism on the uplighters intended to show them off. [Wesley Johnston]

The almost-completed permanent slab (underpass roof) at Broadway in mid Nov 2007. Seen looking in the M1 direction. [Wesley Johnston]

The semi-circular southern (M1) end of the underpass taking shape at Broadway in mid Nov 2007. The underpass has yet to be excavated beneath it. [Wesley Johnston]

24 Oct 2007

On Monday 22nd October traffic travelling along Grosvenor Road transferred from the temporary bridge onto the new flyover. The flyover is currently restricted to one lane in each direction. This will be increased to two on completion. The sliproads onto the Westlink are not yet opened. These will follow by March. Work on dismantling the temporary bridge has begun. It should be completely removed by early December and will require at least one full closure of the Westlink overnight. Roy Spiers, who is heading the project for Roads Service, commented that work is ahead of schedule.

15 Oct 2007

At Grosvenor Road, engineers have completed the sides of the approach ramps to the new flyover and have filled them with gravel. Interestingly, this gravel appears to have been poured directly on top of the original tarmac which will hence remain in-situ for future generations to find! Picture 1 below shows the ramp taking shape on the western (Falls) side of the flyover. The junction will have south-facing slip roads only, but work has begun on both of these. Picture 2 below shows the view looking south and you can see the future offslip on the right taking shape in the distance. At Roden Street, the widening work is proceeding well and the future offslip and onslip at Mulhouse Road (Royal Victoria Hospital) are now evident as their kerbing has been installed. At Broadway, the roof of the underpass has now been completed on the northern half of the junction and the roundabout realigned on top of it. Picture 3 below shows the view south, towards the M1, along the line of the future underpass showing the roof of the underpass partly in place. The sides of the underpass were installed previously, but cannot be seen as they are under ground. The underpass will be excavated once the roof has been completed. After almost two years of work at Broadway, it is marvellous to see definite signs of the final structure taking shape. Work at Stockman's Lane is continuing as before, with work to complete the northbound bridge apparently on schedule for completion early in 2008. In time terms the whole project is now 48% complete.

The western, Falls, approach ramp to the Grosvenor Road flyover (which is just to the right of shot) taking shape on 14 October 2007. [Wesley Johnston]

The view south at Grosvenor Road on 14 October 2007, with preliminary work on the new slip roads evident beyond where the underpass sides end. [Wesley Johnston]

The view south across Broadway roundabout on 14 October 2007. The grey concrete is the roof of the underpass which will extend ahead in this view towards the M1. The underpass is currently filled with soil (sleech) which will not be removed until the roof is complete. [Wesley Johnston]

Other Progress Reports

This page is an archive of old progress reports.

For the final progress reports, after late July 2008, click here.

For the progress reports from February 2008 to early July 2008, click here.

For the progress reports from July 2007 to September 2007, click here.

For the progress reports from March 2007 to June 2007, click here.

For the progress reports from December 2006 to February 2007, click here.

For the earliest progress reports, up to November 2006, click here.