A57, M2 to Belfast International Airport Link

 

Status
Construction scheme (proposed)
Where
To improve road access to Belfast International Airport from the M2 motorway
Total Length
11 km / 7 miles
Dates

Scheme has been discussed since the 1960s

No current plans to proceed

Cost
Unknown
Photos
See below
See Also

General area map - Google Maps

B95 road on this site

Belfast International Airport is situated at Aldergrove, just south of Antrim town. Despite being a very busy airport (handling 5.3 million passengers in 2007) it has relatively poor road access (and no rail access, despite an existing railway line running less than a mile from the terminal). By road, the route from Belfast is to leave the M2 motorway at junction 5 and drive along a two-lane single-carriageway road, the A57, for 7 miles. This road involves driving through the small town of Templepatrick, and over a level-crossing, but is otherwise a very straight, safe road. Problems arise at peak periods, when the lack of overtaking opportunities results in driver frustration, longer journey times and increased chances of accidents occuring.

Ideas to upgrade or replace the road with a dual-carriageway have been proposed many times since the 1960s. It is possible, although there is no firm evidence, that the number "M21" was reserved in the 1960s for a motorway running from junction 6 of the M2 south towards Aldergrove, and that the B95 dual-carriageway is the remaining stub of this road (see link above). If a dual-carriageway link were to be constructed today, it would be more likely to follow the current A57 route and leave the M2 at junction 5.

The only recent reference to this sort of improvment by anyone in government was Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy, as reported in the Belfast Telegraph on 3 March 2008. The article says "Mr Murphy said private sector finance would help accelerate plans to create a dual carriageway road link from the M2 at Templepatrick to Belfast International Airport". This could mean that the airport might have to pay for the road if they want it, or possibly that some kind of public/private partnership could be considered. Either way, the scheme is unlikely to happen in the foreseeble future.

Photos

The existing A57 running through the small town of Templepatrick, seen here in 2003. All traffic from Belfast accessing the airport via the M2 uses this route. [Wesley Johnston]