The first new flyover on the massive Dunkettle interchange project in Cork is set to open within days, with a major traffic switch-over operation on the cards.
The opening of the structure, known as ST08, on the northern side of the Jack Lynch tunnel, will mark a major milestone in the huge engineering project to create a largely freeflow traffic arrangement through one of the country’s busiest interchanges, at the junction of the M8 and N25, the Jack Lynch tunnel, and the N40 Southern Ring Road.
Southbound motorists approaching the tunnel from the northern side have been warned to expect significant lane alterations and restrictions over the coming days in preparation for its opening.
Engineers will temporarily close the Ibis slip road from the L2998 to the M8 from 10am from this Thursday, January 27, until February 6, with traffic on the M8 southbound reduced to one lane.
M8 southbound traffic will then be directed over the new structure from January 30 and on towards the Dunkettle interchange roundabout, where three traffic lanes will continue to be available.
“The traffic management arrangement will result in slightly increased traffic delays for M8 southbound vehicles during morning peak,” a spokesman said.
“However, the three-lane configuration on the immediate approach to the roundabout will help to minimise this and we will also reconfigure the traffic light sequencing as appropriate over the coming weeks to further minimise any delay."
The Ibis slip road lane will then reopen from February 6, with its traffic also being directed over the new structure.
By February 13, M8 northbound traffic will also be directed over the new structure in a traffic arrangement that will remain in place until July or August.
The spokesman said they expect this will all help to bring forward the completion of the entire project by several weeks, from the end of March 2024 to mid-February 2024.
Engineers and contractors have been working extensively off-line — in areas away from or above the main M8 and N25 — over the last several months.
The spokesman said motorists can expect to see a number of other new link roads and associated structures opening to traffic over the coming months.
A new freeflow link for traffic from the Tivoli roundabout heading north on the M8 is due to open in early March, removing this traffic flow entirely from the interchange roundabout.
And a parallel link for local traffic from the Tivoli roundabout is scheduled to open permanently at some stage between April and June.
The interchange handles around 11,000 vehicle movements daily, and it will remain open throughout the upgrade.