M1 motorway (Northern Ireland): Wikis


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M1 motorway
UK motorway M1.PNG

Road of the United Kingdom

Length 38 miles (61.2 km)
Direction East - West
Start Belfast
Primary destinations Lisburn, Lurgan, Craigavon, Portadown, Dungannon
End Dungannon
Construction dates 1962 - 1968
Motorways joined Junction 12.svg UK-Motorway-M12.svg
J12 → M12 Motorway
View east from the bridge at junction 9.

The M1 is a motorway in Northern Ireland. It is the longest motorway in Northern Ireland and runs for 38 miles (61 km) from Belfast to Dungannon through County Down and County Armagh. It forms part of the route via the A1 in Northern Ireland (N1/M1 in the Republic of Ireland) between Belfast and Dublin as well as being a part of the unsigned European E01 and E18 routes.



The road begins at the Broadway roundabout to the west of Windsor Park and running parallel to the Blackstaff River. Heading south as a dual two–lane motorway, it passes to the east of Roger Casement Park before crossing the Belfast-to-Newry railway line. Running through Dunmurry and Ballyskeagh it arrives to the south of Lisburn. Traffic for Dublin leaves at junctions 7 and 8 as the motorway enters the countryside. Now heading west past Aghnatrisk it runs parallel to and then crosses the Belfast-to-Newry railway line followed by the River Lagan before reaching Moira. Continuing west, it passes between Killaghy and Tullydagan and to the north of Lurgan and Turmoyra, across the Pound River, south of Lough Neagh, before its junction with the M12. Crossing the River Bann it then enters a relatively unpopulated area. It passes south of Derryadd Lough and runs in a loop around the Annagarriff Nature Reserve before crossing the River Blackwater, skirting to the north of Tamnamore and Laghey Corner before ending at Dungannon on the A4.


The line of the M1 in Belfast had been planned for a road since 1946 as the Southern Approach Road, though there were some disagreements on the route.[1] County planners in Armagh had also been working on plans to rebuild the then T3 trunk road which suffered from poor alignments, limited speed limits and was of failing construction, some work on which had been undertaken between 1955 and 1957.[1] These two plans were eventually upgraded into plans for the M1 by 1958. Construction began 1957 on the first bridge and subsequently the first section of the motorway.[1] In 1964, the Northern Ireland Government announced plans for an extensive route of motorways which saw the M1 now planned to go to Dungannon.[2] The M1 is the only motorway in Northern Ireland completed to its full planned length.

The road was constructed in stages between 1962 and 1968:[3] Prior to the opening the RUC traffic division ran a publicity campaign to educate drivers on how to drive on a motorway.[1] At the end of 1965 UK Transport Minister Tom Fraser and his successor Barbara Castle imposed a blanket 70 mph (113 km/h) speed limit on motorways on the British mainland, but the recently constructed Northern Ireland M1 remained free of a blanket speed limit for several years.[4]

  • Junctions 1 to 6 opened on 10 July 1962
The motorway follows the route of the former Ulster Canal between junctions 2 and 6. The first user of the road was a motorcyclist, Robert McFall of Belfast. The section between Junctions 2 and 3 was subsequently widened to three lanes in each direction and opened in August 2004.
  • Junctions 6 to 7 opened on 15 December 1963
  • Junctions 7 to 9 opened on 6 December 1965
  • Junctions 9 to 10 opened on 28 February 1966
  • Junctions 10 to 11 opened on 27 November 1967
  • Junctions 11 to 12 opened on 29 January 1968
  • Junctions 12 to 13 opened on 1 December 1964
  • Junctions 13 to 15 opened on 23 December 1967
Junctions 12 to 15 were constructed across a peat bog which is up to 12 metres deep, which required the removal of 3.4 million cubic metres of peat.[1]

Several junctions were omitted from the original construction, as these were for future planned motorways, some of these have now been used for other road plans:

  • Junction 3 was opened in 1988.
  • Junction 8 was opened in 2003. This provides access to the A1 in both directions, whilst junction 7 had its slip roads facing west closed. Junction 8 had originally been planned for a different location for the M11 motorway to relieve the A1 towards the border with the Republic of Ireland.

Future improvements

The M1 in Belfast has high traffic flows at peak times and suffers from congestion. To relieve this work commenced early in 2006 to replace the roundabout at junction 1 with a fully grade separated junction through which the M1 will flow directly onto the A12 Westlink dual-carriageway.[5] As part of the scheme, the M1 will be widened from two to three lanes in each direction between Junctions 1 and 2 along with part of the Westlink. Further improvements will be carried out to Westlink.

In 2006, the government announced plans for a £45m flyover link directly to and from the A1 and M1 eastbound. If the scheme is approved after the consultation ends in 2006, construction will take place between 2010 and 2015.[6]

Plans exist to upgrade the A4 from Dungannon to Ballygawley (approximately 12.5 miles (20.1 km)) to a dual carriageway standard, similar to the M1.[7]

The M1 is straight and flat on the 6-mile (9.7 km) stretch between Junctions 9 and 10 and on the 4-mile (6.4 km) stretch between Junctions 12 and 13, and an urban myth exists claiming that these were to be used as supplementary runways by the United States Air Force in the event of a major conflict with the Soviet Union.[8]


M1 Motorway
Eastbound exits Junction Westbound exits
End of motorway
City Centre, Docks (A12)
Donegall Road, Broadway, Glenmachan Street
Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.svg Start of motorway
Newtownards, Bangor
(A55 Belfast Outer Ring Road)
Motorway Exit 2 Ireland.svg Balmoral, Andersonstown
(A55 Belfast Outer Ring Road)
No access Motorway Exit 3 Ireland.PNG Finaghy, Dunmurry, Lisburn North (A1)
Lisburn City Centre, Ballynahinch, Saintfield (A49) Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG Lisburn City Centre, Ballynahinch (A49)
No access Motorway Exit 7 Ireland.PNG Sprucefield, Lisburn South (A1)
Sprucefield, Lisburn South, Hillsborough (A101) Motorway Exit 8 Ireland.PNG Dublin, Drogheda, Dundalk, Newry
Banbridge, Hillborough (A101)
Moira (A3, A26) Motorway Exit 9 Ireland.PNG Belfast International Airport, Antrim (A3, A26)
Craigavon, Lurgan (A76, B76) Motorway Exit 10 Ireland.PNG Craigavon, Lurgan (A76, B76)
Craigavon, Lurgan, Portadown (M12) Motorway Exit 11 Ireland.PNG Craigavon, Armagh, Portadown, Monaghan
Craigavon, Portadown (A4, B196) Motorway Exit 12 Ireland.PNG Maghery, Bannfoot (A4, B196)
Ardress, Loughall (B131) Motorway Exit 13 Ireland.PNG Ardress, Loughall (B131)
Coalisland (A45) Motorway Exit 14 Ireland.PNG Coalisland (A45)
Start of motorway'’ Motorway Exit 15 Ireland.PNG End of motorway
Enniskillen, Sligo, Omagh (A4)
Dungannon, Armagh, Cookstown, Donaghmore (A29)
Note: there is no Junction 4 or Junction 5

See also


External links



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