MOTORWAY OPENING TO SLASH JOURNEY TIME
The final section of the Cork-Dublin motorway which is due to open on May 28, is set to cut the travelling time between the two cities by approximately 45 minutes. The opening of the completed Portlaoise to Cullahill section will bypass the notorious bottleneck of Abbeyleix, Durrow and Cullahill which will in turn result in improved air quality and less congestion.
The 41km motorway runs between Portlaoise and Cullahill before linking up with the existing M8. There is also a link to the M7 Dublin to Limerick motorway, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
A toll plaza will be installed, taking in traffic from both the Cork and Limerick routes. Charges have been pitched at 90 cents for a motorbike, €1.80 for a car and €5.70 for a heavy goods vehicle. This is the second toll on the overall route with charges for the Rathcormac bypass at €1 for a motorbike, €1.90 for a car and €6 for a H.G.V.
A spokesperson for Direct Route confirmed to The Avondhu that prices at the Rathcormac toll will remain fixed to the end of the year, adding that “despite the recession, there hasn’t been a reduction in motorists using the toll.”
Up to 18,000 vehicles choose to use the quicker route between Cork and Dublin, with tolling revenue expected to reach up to €11m. This is on top of the €14m already being generated from the toll plaza at Rathcormac at the southern end of the motorway.
News of the opening of the new section has been warmly welcomed by UCC students pointing out that the reduced time between the two cities will possibly lead to greater and easier fostering of links between UCC and Dublin’s universities.
From 1992, when the bypass of Glanmire was opened at a cost of €60 million, other bypass schemes have included: Watergrasshill (€144 million), Cashel (€48 million) and Fermoy (€300 million). Motorway stretches from Cashel to Mitchelstown (€445 million), Cashel to Cullahill (€434 million) and Mitchelstown to Fermoy (€174 million) were also constructed. On the Cork-Dublin route between Dublin and Portlaoise, the Naas bypass was opened in 1983, at a cost of about €23 million.
The Kildare-Monasterevin section and widening of the Naas to Red Cow stretch to three lanes cost about €570 million. A total of €6 billion was allocated for the programme which has taken 10 years and cost three times that amount.
Thursday 6th May 9:14pm