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Route of the M3 (Northern Ireland)

Is this the most piecemeal motorway in the UK? It's barely a mile long, but took about eight years to build in three different sections. Ouch.

Northern Ireland had grand motorway plans in the 1960s, with eight single-digit motorways radiating from Belfast throwing off spurs to various provincial towns. Aside from the M1 and M2, none of this happened. The M3 was initially to be the Belfast to Bangor motorway, but as this never got built, the new motorway section across the Lagan Bridge got the number instead.

The M3 is fairly obviously just the last mile of the M2, built in the 1990s when a new crossing over the Lagan was required. It is a continuation of the mainline of the M2 motorway and A2 dual carriageway, which means the three now form a route into the city from the north, looping back out to the north-east on the A2. Why exactly one small part of this route must be called M3 is beyond logical reason. Perhaps the route out to Bangor would have begun by crossing the Lagan here, but if you're only going to build a mile of it, messing about with a number seems picky.

Forgetting its bizarre numbering, the appearance of any new motorway in NI is a cause for celebration, and besides, nobody there actually pays any attention to its number anyway.

Factfile

Start Belfast (M2, A12)
Finish Ballymacarrett (A2)
Passes None
Length 1 miles
Terminates None
Spurs None
Meets None

There are no photos in this section yet.

Construction Timeline

When the various parts of the M3 (Northern Ireland) were built, listed in chronological order.

Open Jct Section

Exit List

All the junctions and destinations along the route.

Junction   Westbound               Eastbound
(M2 J1A) Antrim
Ballymena
Coleraine
Londonderry
M2 Link
Belfast (W)
Lisburn
Craigavon
A12 Link (M1 Link)






A2

A12

A2
WEST
M2
York Street (Non-standard interchange)
N/A More information about this junction
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1 mile, 4 lanes Up  
River or canal Lagan Lagan Bridge (Watercourse) River or canal Lagan More information about this junction
  Down 1 mile, 4 lanes
N/A A2


A20





Middlepath Street Interchange (Non-standard interchange)
A2
EAST
City Airport
Hollywood
Bangor
A2
Belfast (E)
Outer Ring (A55)
Sydenham
A20
More information about this junction
LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns LanesLanesLanesLanesLanesLanesSigns

With thanks to Wesley Johnston for information in this section.