Work has started on a £130,000 car park extension to Ballee car park in Ballymena to provide 50 additional park and ride spaces.
The work has been welcomed by two local MLAs, Robin Swann (UUP) and Paul Frew (DUP).
The contract for the capital scheme has been awarded to F. P. McCann contracts and will involve the extension of the car park to provide additional spaces for the existing park and ride facility associated with Translink’s Goldline service to and from Antrim/Belfast.
Further elements of the proposed scheme include the alteration of the existing bus lay-bys and improved footway links with the introduction of a pedestrian refuge island on Antrim road.
Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said: “This is a significant capital investment in the infrastructure in the Ballymena area. The existing facility is well used and consistently runs at over 80 percent capacity.
“This extension will create a total of 136 car parking spaces which will cater for the existing levels of demand and will hopefully encourage more people to make use of this excellent inter urban bus service.”
The existing park and ride facility has been in operation since 2000 when the original picnic facility and associated car parking was extended to provide 47 spaces. Due to increased demand the car park was further extended in 2008 to provide an additional 39 spaces, bringing the total up to 86 spaces.
Work started on the car park on 29 September and is expected to last approximately five weeks.
Mr Frew said, “The spaces which are due to be completed in approximately three-four weeks time will be the third extension of the car park and will no doubt be very much appreciated by the people of Ballymena.”
The contract for the capital scheme has been awarded to F P McCann contracts and will involve the extension of the car park to provide additional spaces for the existing park and ride facility associated with Translink’s Goldline service from Antrim to Belfast.