Waterford-Dublin motorway on schedule for 2010 completion

THE motorway linking Waterford to Dublin remains on schedule for a 2010 completion, with work on the final sections due to start in the coming weeks.

The €1.46 billion road project, one of the largest in the State’s history, has been under way for the past two years and work began on the bridge over the River Suir last year.

According to the National Roads Authority, the contractors will start the final two phases of the motorway before Easter.

Meanwhile, the completion of the 19km Carlow bypass later this year is expected to cut journey times between Waterford and Dublin by up to 40 minutes.

The cable-stayed bridge over the Suir, which will remove the need for motorists to travel through the city centre, will be the longest of its kind in the country.

Among those relieved by the bridge will be members of the public who, up to now, have had to travel into the city to get to Rosslare.

It is expected to become a landmark, like the bridge over the River Boyne at Drogheda.

The city bypass is reported to be on course for completion in 2010, as is the section between Waterford and Knocktopher.

The 40km section between Knocktopher and Carlow and the remaining 27km phase between the new Carlow bypass and Kilcullen will get under way shortly.

Dungarvan is also set to get a bypass, with construction planning to start later this year.

Local TD and Social Affairs Minister Martin Cullen said the roads would add “significant value” to the quality of life of people in the southeast, and to the region’s business and tourism industries. “Good transport infrastructure is crucial to the promotion of our regional economic competitiveness. It is critical Waterford enterprises are able to efficiently move goods both internally and to and from external markets,” he said.

The Waterford city bypass section stretches from a point west of Kilmeaden to east of Slieverue in Co Kilkenny and consists of 23km of dual carriageway and 14km of single carriageway.

Waterford Joint Venture is the contractor in charge of the project and construction started in 2006.

Meanwhile three main radial access roads in Waterford city are to be realigned, with tenders invited this week for the joint project.

The routes are the Old Tramore Road, the Kilbarry Road and Ballycashin Hill. According to Waterford City Council, the entire contract will cost about €6 million.

Consultants will now be appointed to move the scheme on through the design and planning stage.

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