Northern Ireland

York Street puts brakes on uninterrupted Randalstown to Cork road

Road map from Randalstown to Cork
Image caption How the York Street interchange halts 288km of uninterrupted road spanning the length of Ireland

The handbrake has been put on a £165m scheme to revamp Belfast's York Street interchange - and, with it, hopes to extend an uninterrupted stretch of road from County Antrim to County Cork.

The traffic lights at the interchange is the only place where drivers are forced to stop between Randalstown and Cork City.

A redeveloped interchange would mean 288 miles of constant dual-carriageway and motorway that runs almost the entire length of Ireland.

The route connects the M2 at Randalstown to the M1 south of Belfast via the traffic-light junction at the interchange.

Then, depending on traffic, motorists can drive stop-free from Belfast all the way to Cork, travelling on major roads that by-pass Newry, Dundalk, Dublin and Portlaoise.

The only possible delays on the way are two roundabouts at Sprucefield, County Down, and toll booths.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has said the York Street project has been put on hold because of budget uncertainty caused by Brexit.

However, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has said projects approved until the point the UK leaves the EU will be fully funded by the Treasury.

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