Work is beginning this week on the new Allstate NI office block between Belfast’s Central Station, the former Maysfield Leisure Centre and the Lagan River. Users of the Laganside path will face a number of diversions over the course of the expected 22 months of construction work.
The new Allstate building was recently given a green light by Belfast city council planners, and will include a contribution towards establishing a new Belfast Bikes station on the riverside. Allstate NI are also previous winners of the Best Large Employer for Cycling in the Fréd Awards.
Fences are already in place which will divert people around the loop path for one month, to allow for the main pathway to be widened. Construction on the green will mean a security and safety hoarding will be erected on sections of the main path.
To maintain the path width on this heavily-used facility, the contractors will create a cantilevered extension over the river. When this is in place the loop section will be closed to public access.
This is certainly an improvement over the situation at the Waterfront Hall which has closed the National Cycle Network for 2 years. This temporary construction will be removed at the end of the works and the main path reinstated to its current configuration.
The final site plans show a slight drawback with the existing access directly into the Central Station taxi rank from the loop path being lost to the new building.
It is a pity that this heavily used cut-through could not have been accommodated in the overall scheme design, as it will add a lengthy diversion across the Dutch bridge and up beside Maysfield Leisure Centre, soon to be the site of a new Concentrix building.
Overall it’s good to see developers ensuring that cycling journeys are protected to the best extent during building works, and working to advise users of the disruptions at key stages. Access between the Gasworks and Albert Bridge will be maintained throughout, keeping the critical spine of the Belfast cycling network intact.
For more information or queries about the works contact Stewart Graham (OHMG Ltd)