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M50 will be ready for back-to-school rush

LONG-suffering motorists can expect to finally see the back of the M50 upgrade road works early next month.

The mammoth €1bn project -- which got under way in January, 2006 -- is in the last stages of construction. It is expected the upgrade of the M3 interchange, the final section of the scheme, will be completed in the first weeks of September.

"If all goes according to plan, every piece of the M50, as far as road works are concerned, could be finished by early September," a spokesman for the National Roads Authority (NRA) told the Herald.

It is understood the aim is to have the project finished by the time traffic volumes increase again with the re-opening of schools.

The NRA said that what makes the new scheme a "success", is the widening of the motorway, the removal of the toll plaza and free-flowing Red Cow junction.

The project was given the go- ahead by An Bord Pleanala in May 2005, with construction work starting the following year.

Four lanes of motorway now run on each carriageway along the 31km route, and 10 junctions have been replaced. Five interchanges have been upgraded this year.