M50 upgrade cuts rush-hour journeys by half
rush-hour journey times on the once-hated M50 have been slashed in half for motorists.
The final stretch of the €1bn upgrade of the motorway was opened yesterday.
The widening of the 32km section of the busiest road in Ireland from two to three lanes took more than four years.
The last section, the N3 interchange at Blanchardstown, was officially opened to traffic yesterday evening.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said the M50's transformation from a two-lane, heavily congested road with toll barriers and signalled interchanges into a modern free-flowing motorway had cut journey times by up to 50pc. He said the upgrade had also resulted in shorter, more reliable and safer journeys that improve commuters' quality of life, increase efficiency for businesses and help Dublin be more competitive in order to attract more foreign inward investment.
The project was completed four months ahead of schedule.
National Roads Authority chairman Peter Malone said the project had been highly challenging.
The M50 upgrade involved:
- Widening of 32km from two to three lanes in each direction between Junction 3 (M1) and Junction 14 (Sandyford).
- An additional fourth auxiliary lane in each direction between Junction 3 (M1) and Junction 12 (Scholarstown).
- Full free-flow interchange at four junctions: 3 (M1), 5 (N2 Ashbourne/Finglas), 7 (N4 Palmerstown) and 9 (N7 Red Cow).
- Partial free-flow interchange at six other junctions: 4 (Ballymun), 6 (N3 Blanchardstown), 10 (Ballymount), 11 (N81 Tallaght), 12 (Scholarstown) and 14 (Sandyford).
- Removal of the West-Link toll plaza to provide barrier-free tolling.
The dismantling of the hated West-Link toll plaza and its replacement with a fully electronic barrier-free system was a crucial element of the strategy for easing congestion.