Hopes for safer days ahead on M11
THE 33 people who died in road traffic accidents along the notorious Ballinameesda bends on the N11 over the past 25 years, were remembered on Monday afternoon, as the last stretch of single dual carriageway between Gorey and Dublin was finally bypassed, and the new 16km M11 Arklow to Rathnew motorway link was officially opened.
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe was joined by Minister Brendan Howlin to officially open the upgrade scheme, which forms part of the €282 million N7 Newlands Cross/N11 Arklow to Rathnew Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme through contractor BAM.
After some further safety checks, the road finally opened at around tea-time. The section of the N11 has been reclassified to motorway standard, meaning the 120 km/h limit could save 20 minutes or more at peak times.
Noting that the opening was happening seven weeks ahead of schedule, Minister Donohoe said that the non-tolled link would create 90km of motorway and dual carriageway between Dublin and Gorey, and would form part of a 280km continuous motorway between Clough and Belfast.
Minister Howlin said the project is an important part of infrastructure that will significantly improve safety. 'It will boost the economic capacity of counties Wicklow and Wexford,' he said. 'Upgrading the existing national N11 route to motorway standard is an important step forward. Not only is it a new link to our existing motorway network but it will improve safety and operational efficiency and shorten journey times. For business, commuters, tourists and visitors, it will improve connectivity times in the east and to the south east.'
Fred Barry, CEO of the National Roads Authority said the modern motorway will offer clear safety benefits for all road users.
Regular commuter Cllr Malcolm Byrne hailed Monday as 'Independence Day for commuters, saying it will mean that someone from Gorey travelling when there is no traffic could be on the M50 in 50 minutes, and at Dublin Airport in just over an hour. 'It will make North Wexford and South Wicklow much more accessible for businesses in Dublin and also easier for tourists to travel down to the Sunny South East,' he said.