M3 Bridge has Got A Grip

Concerns which has led to letter writing by Right To Ride to the authorities about the Expansion Joint Covers on the M3 Bridge in Belfast being a hazard to motorcyclists is finally drawing to a conclusion.

In October 2010 riders on the NI Bikers Forum voiced concerns and warned other riders of the hazard of, the then new joints, on the M3 Lagan Bridge in Belfast.

According to the riders, although the joints appeared to be fine in dry weather and an improvement to the “dips” prevalent in the previous joints, (which were only a few inches wide and created a slight jolt when ridden over), the new joints were nearly 2 feet wide and riders found that they caused a loss of grip, especially when the joints are negotiated in wet weather.

Right To Ride contacted Roads Service to pass on our own concerns and those of riders that had contacted us and who commented:

“As a few weeks ago, I was heading towards Bangor, and was stuck in traffic jam just before M3 starts to elevate …. As I crossed one of the joints, at about 10mp-15mph, the back wheel spun out .. it had been raining previously , so the joint was wet.”

“Overall I think they are terrible, even the car loses all steering feel briefly and sunshine at sunset reflects badly off them when wet.”

After various communications with Roads Service, the department put a process in motion which saw the DBFO Contractor (Design, Build, Finance and Operate Contracts), the designers and the joint manufacturer actively investigating methods on how to best improve the skid resistance over the joints, with an independent consultant monitoring the joints over a 12 month period.

We were told that the DBFO Contractor wishes to ensure it applies the best and most long-lasting treatment to the joints, which may not just be as simple as applying a non-slip covering. Therefore a number of trials using alternative skid resistance applications has been undertaken, and is nearing conclusion.

While this appears to have taken a long time to reach an end to slippery bridge joints, Roads Service have informed us that they, the DBFO Contractor and the manufacturer are keen to conclude this issue as soon as possible.

Once the new treatment on the joints is in place, we will of course keep you posted.


Further information – Click Here
Full details – updates – communication with Roads Service  – Click Here

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  1. Good luck with them, perhaps you might also target the other trick the highways lot have started doing, milling the road surface of concrete roads, not across the lanes as originally tamped but along them, leaving ‘tramlines’ to catch bikers out, again especially when wet!

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