NRA to reap €184m each year from toll roads
THE National Roads Authority (NRA) will take in €184m a year in tolls from motorists when the country's motorway schemes are completed at the end of this year.
This is because five of the six motorways will have two tolls, with just one -- the Dublin-Waterford inter-urban motorway scheme -- only having a single charge.
Motorists travelling from Dublin to Galway, Limerick, Cork and the Border will be forced to pay two tolls, while commuters using the full length of the new M3 motorway in Meath will also be hit twice.
There will be 11 tolled road schemes open by the end of the year, with the M50 the most lucrative. The NRA expected to take in €80m a year, but drivers paid €96.5m in 2009.
In all, the authority expects to collect €184.2m in tolls every year, with the money used to pay back the cost of building the roads and for maintenance.
The NRA yesterday announced that the M3 motorway between Clonee and Kells would open on June 4, a week after the new Dublin to Cork scheme is officially unveiled.
But there will be two tolls of €1.30 each, one at Dunshauglin and the second near Kells at Grange. The NRA expects 64,000 vehicles a day to use the 60km road, of which 13,000 will pay both tolls. Total revenue is expected to be €13.2m.
The road has been dogged by controversy because it runs close to the Hill of Tara, the seat of the High Kings. Built at a cost of €1bn, it will open two months ahead of schedule and bypasses the bottlenecks of Dunboyne, Dunshauglin, Navan and Kells.
The NRA said that at 110km of road, including local links, it was the biggest single project ever built.
"The opening of the M3 Clonee to Kells motorway is a significant achievement, which balances the historical importance of an entire region with the public demand for access to safe road infrastructure," chairman Peter Malone added.