Dublin City Council and the National Roads Authority today announced that An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Vincent Jackson will open the Dublin Port Tunnel on Wednesday 20th December 2006.
The €751million M50 Dublin Port Tunnel is the longest urban motorway in Europe, comprising two twin lane tunnels, each 4.5km long. It will provide a dedicated motorway, toll free for Heavy Goods Vehicles and buses, from the M50 to Dublin Port. All other vehicles will pay tolls ranging from €12 at peak hours to €6 and €3 off peak.
“The Dublin Port Tunnel is Ireland’s largest Civil Engineering Project and was particularly challenging to construct”, says Tim Brick, Project Engineer. “Construction commenced in June 2001 and has involved 5,000 construction and engineering staff working 7.5 million man-hours, without any fatality. Construction work is now completed and testing and commissioning is well advanced. Training of emergency services is ongoing while the Tunnel Operator, Transroute Tunnel Operations, is training its staff in preparation for the opening of the Tunnel.”
“Approximately 6,300 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV’s) will use the Dublin Port Tunnel each day, toll free, with benefits for hauliers and for the city environment”, says Hugh Creegan Head of Programme Management, National Roads Authority. “Buses with 25+ seats can also use the tunnel toll free, as can specially adapted cars for disabled drivers. Priority will be given to trucks and buses in the Tunnel. Cars and other vehicles will pay tolls of between €12 - 3 depending on the time of day. The revenues received from toll charges will go toward the operational cost of the Tunnel, with any surplus reverting to the State.”
The HGV strategy to take large trucks off Dublin city streets will be introduced approximately two months after the Tunnel opens. All HGV’s with 5 axles or more, exiting the Port, must use the Tunnel to access the national road network. A permitting system will be put in place by Dublin City Council prior to the commencement of the strategy. Dublin City Council and the National Roads Authority will shortly embark on a major public information campaign in 8 languages (English, Irish, Polish, Russian, French, German, Spanish and Chinese) to ensure that all potential users of the Dublin Port Tunnel are aware of safety information, how to behave when driving in the tunnel and to ensure that HGV drivers know that using the Tunnel is toll free for them.