Mayfield Link Road, Newtownabbey
(also called Hightown Road Link)

 

Status
Construction scheme (part completed)
Developer - Fraser Homes NI Ltd
Where
To connect the M2 at j4 (Sandyknowes) to the Upper Hightown Road
Total Length
1.25 km / 0.78 miles
(of which 0.3 km unbuilt as of Feb 2023)
Dates

Scheme announced by private developer - Early 2002

Northern 0.86 km completed - Feb 2003
Formally proposed in Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan - Nov 2004

Remains unfinished as of Feb 2023 - no current plans to complete

Cost
0.7m (2005 estimate) - part-funded by private developers.
See Also

General area map of Newtownabbey

Click here to jump straight down to updates on this scheme.

North Belfast is connected to Glengormley (part of Newtownabbey) by the M2. However, there is another, much older, road link which goes over the Belfast Hills via Crumlin Road and Upper Hightown Road. Upper Hightown Road has been significantly improved over the past 20 years to the point that it is now (somewhat optimistically) the signposted route from the Westlink to Glengormley. Roads Service seem keen to promote this route in order to reduce traffic levels on the M2. The problem is that this road ends in the centre of Glengormley village, an unsatisfactory arrangement that negates any advantages the route might have for commuters. This map shows the route drivers must take in red:


The Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan (BMTP) of 2004 contained a proposal to construct a link road connecting the Upper Hightown Road directly to the M2 at Sandyknowes roundabout. This link is shown in green on the map above. The BMTP stated that this road would be developer-led, ie private developers would have to build it in order to obtain planning permission. The road would be primarily designed to serve the developments in the area, but would also help longer-distance traffic.

Sure enough, at the point the BMTP was published, permission had already been given for the Mayfield Garden Village and the developer had already built the northern 90% of the road (completed in February 2003) marked in light green on the map and linking to Sandyknowes roundabout. The developer did not, however, build the southern 10% which links it to Hightown Road and it has therefore ended at a temporary fence since then.

It's not entirely clear why the road has not been finished, but it seems a shame that the road is so close to completion, yet is not linked up. In the meantime, drivers can still connect from Upper Hightown Road to the Mayfield Link Road by rat-running through Mayfield Garden Village.

Progress

8 Feb 2023: I have not updated this page for twelve years but here we are! As explained above, Mayfield Link road was constructed exactly twenty years ago, opening in February 2003. The final 300 metres connecting it to Upper Hightown Road was never finished. I have not heard anything definitive, but I was recently made aware that the developer of Mayfield Village has started work on housing land around the unbuilt stretch, and demolished a house close to its terminus at the southern end. It is possible, therefore, that work on the final stretch of this road might finally be built! The fact that it has been unfinished for twenty years is a poor reflection on the planning process. This sort of thing shoudl not be allowed to happen. The recently-completed Ballyclare Western Relief Road shows how this should be done. With thanks to Gavin Boyle for information on this.

Photos


View north-west from close to the end of Upper Hightown Road. The completed
road will curve through the trees to the right. 29 Mar 2002 [Wesley Johnston]

View south from Scullions Road / Mallusk Road junction on 13 Apr 2002. The new Mayfield Link Road now continues straight on here, where the fence was in this image. [Wesley Johnston]

The completed part of Mayfield Link Road, here seen on 22 Feb 2003
looking north just after opening. [Wesley Johnston]

The abrupt southern terminus of the Mayfield Link Road,
as seen on 9 Mar 2003. [Wesley Johnston]