More M50 tolls needed to prevent gridlock, says NRA
Published 12/05/2015 | 02:30
More tolls are needed on the country's busiest road to prevent a return to gridlock at peak times.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) has warned it will take "several years" to implement "effective measures" on the M50 to prevent congestion, and that decisions on traffic controls need to be taken now.
Instead of a single tolling point at one section of the road, a number of points could be introduced. However, the Department of Transport has ruled out the move.
NRA Chief Executive Fred Barry also said the shelved Cork to Limerick road and Galway bypass were "high-priority" projects for the agency, despite the Government ruling out plans for the M20 Cork-Limerick road on cost grounds. It is expected to cost between €800m and €1bn.
His comments came amid anger from local councillors, who said it would cut travel times between both cities by 30 minutes and replace dangerous stretches of road.
Employers' group Ibec said the road could be delivered under a public-private partnership (PPP), but the Department of Transport said it would not proceed in the immediate future, but that an economic analysis of a bypass for Mallow was under way to identify possible benefits.
Mr Barry also warned that growth in traffic volumes on the M50 meant that gridlock would return in the near-term unless measures were put in place to discourage use.