Update 16/05/2013: The N8/N25/N40 Dunkettle Interchange, located here, received planning approval today from An Bord Pleanala, the national planning board. The scheme will extensively redesign the junction to make it freeflow in all directions and provide some new local roads. It will cost €100 million, but is as yet unfunded. Since only PPP projects are making any progress in Ireland during this period of austerity, and this scheme would be directly funded by the Exchequer, it's not clear how this funding will ever be forthcoming. It might have to wait until the lifting of budgetary constraints in the coming years.
The scheme should be treated as a priority however. It needs to be seen as a serious bottleneck for Cork in the way N7 Newlands Cross, now being reconstructed, is for Dublin.
Detailed plans are available on the scheme website, with a good overview on page 3 of this document.
Update 30/04/2013: After years and years of delays, the N7 Newlands Cross Interchange and M11 Wicklow-Arklow motorway projects are to start within days, since today the contract was signed with BAM construction. Newlands Cross will take 21 months to build, putting its opening date at February 2015, while the M11 won't be ready until September of that year due to its 28 month build time.
Update 16/04/2013: Bad news for the N6 Galway bypass. The European Court of Justice has ruled that the karst/limestone area part of it was due to run through, as a protected zone, cannot be built on due to the damage this would cause. There are now few options available for progressing this much-needed piece of hardware for this traffic choked town, the 4th biggest city in the state. Either a new route must be found or the ruling must be overruled using a facility known as IROPI (Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest). The former is unlikely as the whole Connemara region, wherein Galway lies, is covered in limestone pavement making it impossible to avoid, and the second can be tricky to argue successfully in court, the reason being that judges are loath to allow it too often or every planning decision designed to protect a habitat would be overturned. This space will need to be watched.
Separately, the very slow progress being made on the M1 widening between Junctions 3 and 4 now has an end in sight. The project is due to wrap up at the end of May according to a poster on Boards.ie.
Update 26/03/2013: The N25 New Ross and M11 Enniscorthy bypasses were a combined PPP (Public Private Partnership) but they have now been decoupled, as this article reveals. A start date of 2015 (with completion in 2017) is foreseen for the N25 New Ross bypass, which will be 16 km long (longer than the original 14), a 2+2 dual carriageway, and feature a high-level bridge over the River Barrow. Here is a map.
All this means that the M11 Enniscorthy bypass now has no start date and in fact may no longer be a government priority. However it may also be joined to another scheme, possibly the N11 Oilgate-Rosslare.
Update 14/03/2013: It seems I was too hasty in posting the July start date for the N7 Newlands Cross and M11 Wicklow-Arklow projects. On discussion website Boards.ie, it has instead been confirmed (albeit still unofficially) that with contract signing within the next couple of weeks, work will kick off in April or early May. We could yet see an early summer start to these two important schemes.
I was also hasty by calling a May completion date for the N3 Belturbet bypass. Astonishingly this is quite the opposite of still-on-track; it has been delayed due to poor ground conditions until at least the end of the year and perhaps well into the next!
Finally, following furious debate on Boards.ie about the N2 as it runs through the town of Slane, I rethought my proposal for an N51 replacement in the Futures section. This has now been rerouted further south to avoid the Boyne Valley, and the part between the M3 and N52 removed as traffic can simply use the M3.
Update 09/03/2013: It has been quiet on the roadbuilding front for some time now. The latest news is that the Newlands Cross interchange and M11 Wicklow-Arklow scheme have once again been kicked down the field. They will have their contracts signed this month (March) and will kick off in July. Particularly in the case of the M11 scheme, these delays are infuriating. That scheme has been planned for decades at this stage, and was meant to start first in Jan 2012, then May, then Dec, then April 2013, and now July. These two schemes will very much be in the bag only when bulldozers start to roll.
The M17/M18 Gort to Tuam motorway is planned to commence by year's end. If so, since it is being paid for with a €550M loan, it would be a major sign to the markets that Ireland can borrow large amounts of money again following the ending of restrictions imposed on it by the IMF. Its IMF bailout will come to an end in December.
Some schemes have had their completion dates pushed out somewhat. The M1 widening from 4 to 6 lanes between Junctions 3 and 4 will not finish up until the second quarter (end June) of this year, a surprisingly long time (18 months) - but there is a significant upgrade of Jct 4 bundled into this too.
The N40 Sarsfield/Bandon Road interchanges scheme in Cork was due to wrap up in July but will now be "end Q3" (September). This most important project will result in a southern ring road for Cork that is entirely grade-separated dual carriageway except for the Dunkettle roundabout, itself moving towards the land acquisition phase in February.
The N22/N21 Tralee Bypass has been pushed out from April to a July completion.
The N4 Downs Interchange project was meant to finish back in December 2012 but there was still plenty of activity when I drove through the area last weekend. No idea when work will be done here.
Odd-man-out N3 Belturbet single-carriageway bypass is apparently still on track to open in May.
As always, click through to the Current Road Programme page for more details.
Update 08/12/2012: According to this article (see bottom), the N52 Carrick Bridge to Clonfad road opened on the 7th December. It is 5.6 km of single carriageway and completes the replacement of the whole road between Mullingar and Tullamore. A regional aim for the midlands was to complete a new road network between the three large towns of Mullingar, Tullamore and Athlone. With this scheme, this is now complete. The upgraded section is between these two points.
Update 07/12/2012: There is now doubt that the 57 km M17/M18 Gort-Tuam motorway will start in 2013, as previously indicated. The minister for transport has stated that the funding of the scheme is contingent on the sale of state assets, and although the 4G mobile spectrum was recently sold off, none of the resulting money was earmarked for roads. It is now not even possible to guess the start date of the scheme, as there will be many other competing interests.
Update 29/11/2012: The widening of the M1 from 4 to 6 lanes between junctions 2 and 3 is progressing slowly. The completion date has been pushed out from 31st Dec 2012 to the end of March 2013.
Update 24/11/2012: A question in the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) put to Fred Barry, CEO of the NRA, reveals that the tender for the N7 Newlands Cross and M11 Wicklow-Arklow schemes will be signed in the first quarter of 2013.
Update 15/11/2012: The construction company that will build the M11 Wicklow-Arklow scheme, CIS, has listed 2nd April 2013 on their page for the project. Since the N7 Newlands Cross interchange is bundled with this, it is possible that its start date is similar. This is assuming that the date is reliable at all; it has slipped before - see update for 21st October.
Update 14/11/2012: Survey results have been added to the Futures page.
Update 02/11/2012: Work has kicked off on the 13.6 km single-carriageway Ballaghaderreen bypass on the N5 in Mayo (route). This will effectively extend the Charlestown Bypass, opened in November 2007, eastwards. Although the N5 recently had another section completed, the short but useful Longford Bypass, it generally remains a poor quality national route with work needed between Westport and Castlebar in particular, and an examination needed of the options for reconnecting it to the N4 - currently a long, shoddy part runs from Frenchpark to Longford but this could easily be all bypassed by diverting the route northeast to join with the N4 near Carrick-on-Shannon.
It is expected that construction on Ballaghaderreen's bypass will take two years.
Update 21/10/2012: Some good news and bad news. The good news is a pretty major upgrade of Junction 3 on the N3 (Mulhuddart/Blanchardstown Shopping Centre) got underway at some point in early September. This much-needed scheme will double-lane the ramps and overbridge, as well as creating a loop for getting from the Blanchardstown Centre onto the N3 inbound. An information page from the council is here, with a link to maps at the bottom.
The bad news is that the N7 Newlands Cross junction and M11 Wicklow-Arklow combined projects, which were supposed to start on the 10th October, have not started with no explanation given. Seemingly there has been a funding shortfall and construction may not begin until the new year.
Update 01/09/2012: The very minor N87 Ballyconnell Inner Relief Road was completed on 31th August, after 14 months construction. It is a 1.3 km single-carriageway taking the N87 around to the R205, to the northeast of the town. It is visible on this map.
Update 03/08/2012: The single-carriageway N5 Longford Bypass has opened to traffic. It is a bright spot in these days' economic gloom. It commenced on 12th May 2011 and is 2.6 km long. It provides a high-quality facility to enable N4 and N5 traffic to avoid the town centre. The only remaining national road passing through the town now is the N63, but that can be also be accessed from the new road using an industrial access road.
Update 17/07/2012: Wonderful news! A stimulus package has been announced by the government, to be funded by the EIB (European Investment Bank), the National Pension Reserve Fund and Irish banks. Schemes confirmed are the M17/M18 Gort-Tuam motorway, the M11 Enniscorthy bypass bundled with the N25 New Ross bypass, and, if it hopefully clears its legal hurdles in its September European Court of Justice ruling, the N6 Galway Outer Bypass. Hopefully there will also be a number of minor town bypasses and other smaller schemes going ahead in the near future with the regular budget.
Click to expand >>
Update 25/06/2012: Disastrously, the start date for the Newlands Cross N7 grade separation project has now also been deferred until Q4 of this year. I am hoping it will be towards the start of this period and therefore have marked it above as the 1st September.
Update 15/06/2012: The start date for the N5 Ballaghaderreen single carriageway scheme is confirmed by email correspondance to be in October or November this year.
Update 13/06/2012: Although the start date for the M11 Wicklow-Arklow road has been confirmed, it seems it had been deferred again - from end July to the 10th October, according to this information on the construction company's website. This much-needed road can't come quickly enough. The current road is a dangerous, twisty single carriageway connecting two motorways.
Update 15/04/2012: The traffic counts for trunk roads and motorways have been updated for 2011. Few of them have seen noteworthy increases as the economic crisis continues, and indeed traffic levels have fallen slightly for the third or fourth time on some routes.
Update 01/04/2012: A large regional road project started back in September 2011 with little fanfare, though a local politician mentioned it on his website. The R121 N2-N3 Link is an urban dual carriageway that will connect the N2 at the Cherryhound interchange (Jct 2) with both the R121 at Tyrellstown and Corduff Road. It will be a total of 3.6 km of new dual carriageway (2.7 km of R121, 0.9 km for the other fork) and 600 m of widening at Tyrellstown south to Cruiserath Road. The only significant discussion on the project is here.
The wider context here is that it is planned to eventually provide a full outer ring road of Dublin running as follows: Swords-Airport-Blanchardstown-Lucan-Tallaght. How long this whole project will take is anyone's guess.
Update 24/03/2012: On the 28th February 2012, a big overhaul of national routes in Ireland was announced. The SI (Statutory Instrument, legal document giving force to legislation in the Republic of Ireland) covering this is here. The four most noteworthy changes this brings about are:
- The creation of a separate number for the Cork Southern Ring Road. This will henceforth be known as N40, and work to replace signage to reflect this will be carried out between April and August of this year. A new page, N40, has been created especially for this. The old M40 page, which was the number I had always assumed the future Leinster Outer Orbital would take, has been renamed M45 and moved to a new page. The N25 page has been updated to remove references to the Cork Southern Ring Road since the N25 now starts at Dunkettle, the junction between the M8, N8, N25 and N40.
- The detrunking of the N32, a road that runs from the M1/M50 junction southeast of Dublin Airport eastwards. This is now listed as R139 on OpenStreetMap.
- The detrunking of the N82, a road linking the N7 to the N81 in southwest Dublin. It appears to mainly have been created (in the 1990s) to provide access to a business park, Citywest. On OpenStreetMap, it is now listed as partly R838, and partly Citywest Road. The impetus for this was likely because since 2008, the N7 and N81 have been linked by the R136 Outer Ring Road, a kilometre to the east.
- The detrunking of all national roads entering Dublin City, with the exception of the N11, which has been truncated to Mount Merrion Avenue. Beyond, the road runs as R138. This rather draconian move follows the example of the N7/R110, which was truncated at the M50 many years ago. It used to run all the way into town. The truncation of all national routes now presumably is an attempt to discourage through traffic from using the city at all, though it is likely to simply make navigation far harder.
Another site update will follow shortly to remove references to national routes existing inside Dublin. Oddly, the opporunity was not taken to detrunk the useless N87 from Belburbet to the Northern Ireland border, and there may be other candidates.
Update 26/02/2012: A new section has been added! It's called Timeline maps, showing the development of road building throughout Ireland over the years. There are also large-size, and Dublin-area, versions. For each, use the Animate button to play the sequence.
Update 05/02/2012: The Futures section has been expanded. I've added more proposals for motorway upgrades, proposals for strategic motorway widening, and a new section on proposed junction upgrades. These last only cover Dublin for the moment, as I am less familiar with the traffic needs of the country's regional cities.
Update 21/01/2012: The N4 Downs Grade Separation scheme is underway. This will see 5 km of dual carriageway widened slightly from standard to high-quality dual and the construction of a grade-separated interchange, which will presumably be numbered 14 since it lies halfway between 13 and 15, though this has not been officially confirmed. The median will also be closed to turning vehicles and many side entrances will be closed. (Despite this, it will still not be possible to declare the section a motorway, as some frontage access will remain.)
Works should be complete by December 2012. A map can be found at the bottom of the M4 page.
Update 12/01/2012: M1 Jct 3-4 Drinan-Lissenhall Widening will get underway on the 25th January. This project will continue last year's M1 widening near Dublin Airport, extending the 6-laned section a further 4 kilometres. It will be completed by the end of November.
It was recently announced that the N7/M11 Newlands Cross/Arklow-Rathnew combined PPP scheme has been funded using a combination of European Investment Bank (EIB) and Bank of Ireland (BoI) money. This was possible because the Irish Government now owns a majority stake in Bank of Ireland, due to bailouts resulting from the economic crisis currently gripping the country. Both will start at the same time in around 6 months. However, the other proposed PPP, the M17/M18 project, remains unfunded and no start date is yet known.
Here is the finalised list of projects to take place in 2012.
M1 Jct 3-4 Drinan-Lissenhall Widening to 6 lanes (4 km)
To Start ASAP:
N4 The Downs Grade Separation (5.4 km)
N52 Carrick Bridge to Clonfad (6 km)
To Start June 1st:
M11 Wicklow-Arklow (16.5 km)
N7 Newlands Cross Interchange (Junction 1B?) (1.8 km)
To Be Progressed to Construction by Year End:
N5 Ballaghaderreen BP (13.5 km)
Budget Assigned for 2012 but PPP Uncertainty:
M17/18 Gort to Tuam (56 km)