Road bosses to spend €250,000 on signs for 'no M-way stops'
ROAD bosses will spend €250,000 erecting signs across the motorway network telling drivers there is nowhere to stop to eat, refuel or visit the toilet.
It comes after the National Roads Authority (NRA) opened one part of the first rest area last week, the northbound section of the M1 motorway at Lusk in Co Dublin.
The NRA said yesterday it would roll out 130 signs over the coming weeks alerting commuters, holidaymakers and commercial drivers where services areas just off the motorway network were available.
They will also highlight where there are none available and how far motorists will have to travel from the main routes to find alternatives. The service areas offer toilet, restaurant and refuelling facilities, along with rest areas for hauliers and commercial travellers.
The NRA had planned to provide facilities at 12 locations off five motorways, called 'online' areas, but most have been cancelled because of government cutbacks. Each location has two facilities -- one on each side of the motorway.
Facilities at three locations will open in the coming weeks at the cost of €79.5m. Two are on the M1 at Lusk, Co Dublin, and Castlebellingham in Co Louth, serving the main Dublin to Belfast road.
A third is on the M4 motorway from the capital to Sligo and Galway at Enfield in Co Meath. The official opening of the Lusk facility takes place tomorrow.
A spokesman said the signs were important to inform drivers how far they would have to travel to refuel or use a toilet.
"It's as important to let people know what's there as what is not there. We are committed to the full rollout of the service areas, but until the funding is available this is the step we have taken," he said.
The NRA have planning permission to build service areas at seven locations, including schemes at Athlone (M6), Gorey (N11), Cashel (M8) and Kilcullen (M9). Plans have also been deferred for other service areas at Rathmorrissey, Co Galway (N6/N18/M17), Mountrath (M7), Nenagh (N7), Kilworth (N8) and Kilkenny (N9).
Four signs will be erected on the M1 showing the location of the new service areas, and two on the M4. On the M6, M7, M8 and M9, signs will state 'no online services ahead', but indicate that services close to the motorway are available.