As Northern Ireland finalises preparations for one of the world’s greatest cycling spectacles, the public are being advised to plan their journeys carefully.
Road closures will be in place across the three days of the Giro and anyone who wishes to travel to the event is being advised to use public transport, cycle or walk.
Full details of route maps and road closures are available on http://www.trafficwatchni.com and for public transport information go to http://www.translink.co.uk/giro
Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said: “There is only one day to go until the world’s cycling elite arrive in Belfast and there is an incredible buzz across the country. Along the route, local businesses and the public have made a huge effort to dress their towns and streets in pink to welcome the cyclists.
“With only one day to go, I want to urge the public to plan their journeys carefully and use public transport, walk or cycle regardless of whether they are going to watch the race or go to work, to school or shopping. Road closures will be in place throughout the event and full details are available on http://www.trafficwatchni.com
“Public transport services will be expanded and in addition I am pleased to announce that there will be an additional 28 spaces available at Black’s Road Park and Ride site bringing the total number of spaces to 250.
“Black’s Road has been operating at capacity on a regular basis over the past few months and these additional spaces are part of my Department’s ongoing commitment to encourage sustainable travel.”
Road closures will take place on Friday 9 May across parts of Belfast and up to Stormont from 9.30am to 12 noon and again at 4pm to 8.30pm. On Saturday there will be road closures in Belfast and along the Causeway Coast at various times from 8am to 5pm. On the final day (Sunday) the race will travel from Armagh to Louth with road closures taking place from 7pm the previous evening through to 2pm.
Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “Police are working hard to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum. As a police service, our primary duty is to ensure public safety and to this end, we invest significant effort in planning, alongside organisers and partner agencies, to ensure that events like this pass off successfully and with as little disruption to normal everyday life as is possible.
“For the safety of riders and spectators it is essential that all roads are clear from vehicles and that no one parks on any of the planned routes. To ensure that safety any car found parked on the route will be moved by police.
“It is also important to note that only cyclists involved in the race will be allowed on the planned route.
These roads are not open to cyclists who are not racing.
“Our advice to those who wish to see the race is, make plans early, leave early and use public transport where possible.
“We will do our utmost to keep disruption to an absolute minimum however anyone travelling on the road network should allow extra time for their journey. We hope everyone makes the most of the full programme of events over the weekend.”
Information on public transport will be available on the Translink website at http:www.translink.co.uk/giro
Translink’s Ian Campbell said: “Tailored transport plans will be in operation for each day and location of the event. We will provide enhanced train, coach and bus services to get visitors safely to and from the Giro D’Italia events. We will also operate shuttle bus services from key Park and Ride locations.
“Passengers are advised to allow extra time for their journeys due to road closures as there will be timetable changes, diversions and alternative departure points on selected bus services during the event.
“To help everyone plan their journeys during the Giro, simply click http://www.translink.co.uk/giro or call our contact centre on 90 66 66 30 for a full breakdown of train and bus services, great value tickets as well as full details on bus service disruption.”
The Giro Festival Belfast, ‘Get on yer bike!’ will run from Saturday 3 to Sunday 11 May 2014. Organised by Belfast City Council, it will feature a packed programme of entertainment happening across the city for the Giro d’Italia. Full details at http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/giro2014