EIB: GBP 61 mln for upgrade motorways around Belfast
Luxembourg, Luxemburg – The European Investment Bank is lending GBP 61 million to upgrade sections of the M1 and M2 motorways around Belfast. The ‘Westlink’ is part of a priority project in the EU transport policy: a trans-European road corridor from the port of Larne in Northern Ireland to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, along the Eastern coast. Such transport networks are vital for European integration, especially when improving connections with assisted regions, as is the case with Northern Ireland. These works are indeed expected to reduce congestion and journey times, while improving the accessibility of Belfast port for industry.
The project will take the form of a Private Public Partnership (PPP). EIB funds will be lent to the private sector partner, Highway Management (city) Finance Plc, a special purpose company led by the German multi-services group, Bilfinger Berger BOT, and incorporating local contractors John Graham (Dromore) Ltd. and Northstone (NI) Ltd. They will design, build, finance and maintain a section of the motorway, under a 30-year concession granted by the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development.
On signing the loan in Belfast last week, Peter Sedgwick, Vice President of the EIB stated: “Trans-European transport networks are the arteries of the Single Market. They promote the free movement of people and goods and an efficient division of labour. The EIB is proud to have devoted EUR 40 billion to this priority since 2000.”