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Ambitious PPP Ireland tunnel officially opens

29 July 2010

Limerick Tunnel

The €605m Limerick Tunnel has been officially opened by the Taoiseach of Ireland Brian Cowen.  

Capable of handling up to 40,000 vehicles per day, the scheme is part of the Irish National Roads Authority’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme and comprises:

  • 11 Bridges;
  • 10km of two lane dual carriageway;
  • 2.3km of single lane dual carriageway;
  • A 750m causeway across Bunlicky Lake;
  • A 675m long tunnel under the River Shannon;
  • Four underpasses and eight major culverts;
  • Two toll plazas.

Limerick TunnelThe Tunnel, which will relieve the congested roads in and around the ancient city of Limerick, forms Phase 2 of the Limerick Southern Ring Road and connects Phase 1 at Rossbrien on the south side of the city to the N18 Ennis Road on the west

Capita Symonds provided specialist design services on the project’s five huge 100m long, 18,000 tonne immersed tunnel units on behalf of the construction joint venture DirectRoute (Limerick) Ltd. Capita Symonds’ work also included the detailed design of the ‘cut and cover’ tunnels and approach ramps on each bank of the river.

In addition to the design of the civil works, Capita Symonds was also responsible for the conceptual design of the mechanical and electrical systems; the ventilation, lighting, pumped drainage and control systems; and for the conceptual design of the new road’s intelligent transport system.

The delivery of these vital routes has transformed our national road network beyond all recognition. This investment will make us more competitive and help support jobs and economic growth as the global economy recovers.

An Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen, TD, said “The new Limerick Tunnel is an historic crossing under the river Shannon. It is a key element in our national road infrastructure and is vitally important to the people of the Mid-West. As the world economy improves, it is important to remember all the positive things happening in our country. More than €1.4 billion will be spent this year on our national, regional and local road infrastructure. This level of investment provides a much needed fiscal stimulus around the country and also helps maintain thousands of jobs. The delivery of these vital routes has transformed our national road network beyond all recognition. This investment will make us more competitive and help support jobs and economic growth as the global economy recovers”

Mr. Noel Dempsey, TD, Minister for Transport, said “The Limerick Tunnel is the outcome of many years of vision and effort. It is one of the largest infrastructural projects ever undertaken in the Mid-West region. It will provide a fourth crossing of the river Shannon in Limerick and improve access times for commuters to the city, as well as access to Shannon Airport, Galway, Cork, Kerry and Dublin. By the end of 2010 all our major cities, together with towns and villages between them will be accessible via a world class road network, which will offer safer and more reliable travel for people. I wish a safe journey to everyone travelling on this motorway and I ask all who drive on it to behave courteously to other road users.”

The National Roads Authority, the local authorities and the entire road construction community continue to deliver on the most ambitious road infrastructure programme in Irish history.

Mr. Peter Malone Chairman, National Roads Authority, said “The Limerick Tunnel opening represents another major milestone for inter-regional connectivity.  Drivers can now bypass the notorious bottleneck along the Dock road in Limerick City and travel under the river Shannon, to and from Shannon Airport, Ennis Town, and on to County Galway.  The National Roads Authority, the local authorities and the entire road construction community continue to deliver on the most ambitious road infrastructure programme in Irish history. Additionally, this project improves driver safety, enhances the quality of life for the residents of Limerick city while improving regional competitiveness.  It will contribute positively to growth in tourism, high end manufacturing and growing business services sector throughout the entire Midwest.”

The Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme connects the M7 Dublin to Limerick Route with the N18/M18 Galway to Limerick Road and completes the Southern Bypass of Limerick City. It is anticipated that the remaining section of the M7 towards Limerick will be completed by the end of the year.