€605m tunnel to save 20 minutes
MOTORISTS will shave 20 minutes off their journey when the €605m Limerick Tunnel opens on Tuesday.
Delivered two months early and in time for the August bank holiday, the 10km dual carriageway includes a section which runs under the River Shannon and will remove 28,000 cars a day from Limerick city.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) yesterday said the tunnel was as significant an engineering achievement as the ESB's hydro-electric plant at Ardnacrusha.
A 675-metre tunnel crossing under the Shannon was sunk as part of the road scheme. It runs from the Limerick Southern Ring Road at Rossbrien through Ballinacurra, Ballykeefe, Bunlicky, Castlemungret, Coonagh West, Clonmacken, Coonagh East, Meelick and Cratloemoyle to join with the existing N18 close to Cratloe Castle.
Cars will pay a toll of €1.80, buses €3.20 and trucks up to €5.70.
The tunnel will generate €15m a year in tolls and will be collected by the consortium behind the public-private-partnership project, Direct Route Limerick, until 2041, after which the tunnel reverts to state ownership.