M1 motorway (Northern Ireland)
|M1 motorway in the UK|
|Operator:||Roads Service Northern Ireland|
|Start of the street:||Belfast|
|End of street:||Dungannon|
|Overall length:||61.3 km (38.1 mi )|
The M1 motorway ( English for 'M1 motorway') is a motorway in Northern Ireland that connects Belfast with Dungannon in Armagh . The M1 is the longest motorway in Northern Ireland and the only one to be built to its full length. In the Belfast area, the M1 has six lanes up to junction 3 and then four lanes throughout. At Lisburn , European route 1 branches off to Dublin at junction 7 .
The first expansion plan for the M1 from 1956 initially envisaged a route from Belfast to Lurgan . The first preparatory work began the following year; In 1959, the actual construction of the M1 began in the greater Belfast area. Already in July 1962 the first 10.9 km long section between junction 1 and 6 was opened, one and a half years later the extension to junction 7 followed. At this time the plan was to connect the M1 with the planned urban motorway of Craigavon and to use it as the western end of the M1 (see also: History of the M12 ). With the expansion plans of 1964, however, this idea was rejected again and the route of the M1 at Craigavon was planned a few kilometers further north, so that the motorway could be extended further west to Dungannon. In Belfast, according to the new plans, the M1 should also connect to a planned inner-city motorway ring.
The expansion of the M1 has meanwhile been pushed ahead ever faster. In December 1964, a 7.2 km long section between junctions 12 and 13 was completed in the west. Almost exactly a year later, the M1 was extended from junction 7 to junction 9, and almost three months later the section up to junction 10 was opened to traffic. At the end of 1967, both the western and eastern sections were extended further west. The western section now reached as far as junction 15 at Dungannon and had thus reached the destination point of the M1. The eastern section was extended to junction 11, while the M12 was built as a link to the planned Craigavon city motorway. In April 1969, the gap between the western and eastern sections was finally completed, making the M1 passable from Belfast to Dungannon.
The only plan that has not yet been implemented is the connection to Belfast's inner city motorway ring, as this was never implemented. The gap between M1 and M2 / M3 was closed by the A12 (also known as Westlink), which was initially developed as a four-lane expressway and expanded to six lanes in 2009. In addition, the connections between the A12 and the motorways have been optimized in terms of traffic. The A12 may be upgraded to the M1 motorway in the future. In the greater Belfast area, the expansion of the M1 from four to six lanes is expected to continue up to junction 7.
A further expansion of the M1 towards the west was initially not planned, as the development of other regions by motorway enjoyed priority. When further expansion of the motorway network was stopped in the mid-1970s due to the Northern Ireland conflict, further planning came to a standstill. The A4, which adjoins it to the west, is currently being expanded into a four-lane expressway between 2008 and 2011, right up to the intersection with the A5. A further development of the route as a motorway is therefore unlikely in the long term.