M2 motorway (Northern Ireland)


M2 motorway (Northern Ireland)

UK motorway routebox
motorway= M2
length-mi= 16.5
length-km= 26.5
direction= North - South
start= Duncairn
destinations= Ballymena, Belfast
end= Antrim
opening-date= 1969
completion-date=1975
junctions= 1A -
euroroute= European route number small sign|01European route number small sign|16
UK motorway routebox
motorway= M2
length-mi= 6
length-km= 9.6
direction= North - South
start= Teeshan
destinations= Ballymoney, Antrim, Belfast
end= Ballycregy
opening-date= 1969
completion-date=1969
junctions= none

The M2 is a motorway in Belfast and County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It is in two sections, the southern section running from north Belfast to Antrim and the northern section acts as a bypass of Ballymena, with the A26 road linking the two sections. In total it is 22 miles (36.2 kilometres). The M2 is one of Northern Ireland's most important motorways, forming most of the main route from Belfast city to both Belfast International Airport and Derry. It forms part of the unsigned European route E01 and E16 roads.

Route

outhern section

The route starts at as a continuation of the M3 to the west of the River Lagan at Duncairn. It strikes north past the docks and to the east of Fortwilliam before turning west on slip roads at Junction 2. It now runs through the northern suburbs of Belfast past Whitewell and enters the "Hill section" as it climbs at a gradient of up to 1 in 15, one of the steepest in the United Kingdom. [http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/roads/m2.html Northern Ireland Roads Site - M2] ] It then passes south of Glengormley before leaving the city behind at Ballyvesy. Entering the countryside, it runs parallel to Ballymartin Water before reaching Junction 5 north of Templepatrick, then crosses Six Mile Water before arriving to the north of Burnside at Junction 6. Running around the north of Antrim, shortly after Junction 7 the road meets an incomplete junction where the motorway would have continued to Ballymena. When the road widens, it becomes the M22.

Northern section

The "Ballymena Bypass" begins to the south east of Ballymena at Ballycregy and heads north from a roundabout. Running east of Crebilly it crosses the River Braid and turns more north west to the west of Rabbit Hill passes south of Killyflugh, passes east of Leymore and terminates on the A26 by Teeshan.

History

A route roughly along the line of the M2 had been planned since the 1930s, but the first concrete plans for the "North Approach" were announced in 1946. [http://www.iht.org/motorway/niconcept.htm The Motorway Archive - Northern Ireland Summary] ] In 1956 proposals for several motorways, including the M2, were announced with the M2 running directly to Ballymena. [http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/roads/historymotorwayplans.html Northern Ireland Roads Site - History of Motorway Plans] ] Part of this alignment became the A8(M). In 1964 the plans were further extended to route the M2 via Antrim to Coleraine, away from its original direct alignment over difficult terrain, [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m2ni.htm The Motorway Archive - M2 (Northern Ireland)] ] which is how the plans for construction were then progressed. The A8(M) was already under construction, so it was left as a spur.

Due to financial restraints, it was decided to prioritise the sections of the road required urgently, with the first stage being started on 2 September 1963. Construction continued until 1975, with the road being opened in the following sections:
*Junctions 1 to 2 opened in 1973
*Junctions 2 to 4 opened in 1966
*Junctions 4 to 5 opened in 1975
*Junctions 5 to M22 opened in 1971
*Junctions 10 to 12 opened in 1969

In 1993 Junction 7 was opened to provide access to Antrim Area Hospital.

The section between Junctions 7 and 10 was to be the next section constructed, but with the onset of The Troubles and then direct rule, nearly all the planned motorway projects were cancelled. The A26 between M22 Junction 1 and Junction 10 of the M2 was progressively upgraded to a dual carriageway and so it is now unlikely that the M2 will ever be completed.

Future plans

outhern section

* A scheme is due to get under way in 2007 to widen the M2 to three lanes city bound between Junctions 2 and 4 and remodel the Sandyknowes roundabout (Junction 4). [ [http://www.roadsni.gov.uk/scheme/M2Widening/index.htm Northern Ireland Road Service - M2 Widening Scheme Page] ]
* A £50 m plan announced on 31 July 2006 will, if approved in 2006, see a flyover link constructed directly between the M2 and A12 Westlink between 2010 and 2015.Specify|date=December 2006

Northern section

*The M2 currently ends at a roundabout junction, with provision for the unbuilt section between Junctions 7 and 10. The A26 currently leaves this roundabout at an at-grade junction. It is planned to extend the route under the roundabout at Junction 10 to connect with the A26 requiring around one mile (1.6 km) of new build road. [ [http://www.roadsni.gov.uk/scheme/M2Link_bmenabypass/index.htm Northern Ireland Road Service - M2 Link Scheme Page] ]

Junctions

outhern section

:"Note: there is no Junction 3"

Northern section

Trivia

*Junction 1B is the only motorway junction in the United Kingdom that consist solely of motorway exits, with no entry slip-roads (once you leave the motorway, you can't get back on).
*The M2 connects with all the other motorways in Northern Ireland except the M1 and M12.
*The section of the M2 between the Junctions 1A and 2 is ten lanes (five lanes each way) and was the widest motorway in the United Kingdom when opened.

References

ee also

*List of motorways in the United Kingdom
*Roads in Ireland

External links

*CBRD
** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/motorway/m2-ni/ Motorway Database - M2 (Northern Ireland)]
** CBRD Media:
*** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/media/video/ni1.shtml Video I including the A8(M)]
*** [http://www.cbrd.co.uk/media/video/ni2.shtml Video II from the A2/M5 junction to M3]
* [http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/roads/m2.html Northern Ireland Roads Site - M2]
* [http://www.iht.org/motorway/m2ni.htm The Motorway Archive - M2 (Northern Ireland)] Northern Irish roads


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