WORK on the first major road scheme to go ahead in almost six years will begin within weeks.
Some 1,000 construction jobs will be created after a deal with the private sector to build the N7 Newlands Cross fly-over and N11 Arklow-Rathnew upgrade project was signed today.
The scheme will remove the last traffic light between Cork and Belfast and will cost €282m. It is expected to be completed within two years.
The road will be funded by Bank of Ireland and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The deal has taken several years to finalise because of the markets reluctance to lend to Irish projects, particularly those backed by the State.
Transport minister Leo Varadkar said the deal was a “milestone” in our economic recovery.
Chief executive of the National Roads Authority (NRA), Fred Barry, said the deal followed years of “intensive effort” and showed the authority was “back in business”.
The Newlands Cross Fly-over will remove the last traffic light between Cork, Limerick, Waterford and the border with Northern Ireland. Some 80,000 vehicles pass through Newlands Cross every day.
The N11 upgrade will improve road safety on a notoriously dangerous stretch of road and will also include a motorway service station at Gorey. The entire project is due to be completed within two years and on-site works are expected to begin within weeks.