Motorists using Dublin's M50 are set for further disruption, as phase two of the €1 billion upgrade starts on Monday.
Phase two, which involves additional lanes and the rebuilding of junctions on the northern and southwestern sections of the motorway, will take three years to complete. Phase one is due for completion next August.
The latest phase is a larger and more expensive project and will cost some €650 million.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) yesterday cited commercial reasons for not revealing how much of the €650 million is to be contributed by the State. The contractor, a Spanish-Irish consortium comprising FCC Construction SA, Itinere SA and J P Hegarty and Sons will maintain and service the entire motorway for the next 35 years.
It will be paid directly by the NRA from receipts it receives from tolls levied on cars passing the West-Link bridge. A spokesman for the NRA said there are no plans to collect tolls on sections of the motorway not already tolled.
Work is to begin between the M1 and M2 junctions only, on Monday, but will be expanded as the project progresses.
A small section from the Blanchardstown interchange with the N3, to the West-Link, which has been described as phase three, has already begun.
The section from Sandyford to the junction with the M11 is not being upgraded.
Further projects to improve capacity on the N7 and N4 roads resulting from the proposed increase in capacity on the M50 are also due to get under way this year. These include a free flow, "up and over" pass for the N7 at Newlands Cross and improvements to the Palmerstown junction on the N4.
Spokesman for the NRA Seán O'Neill said that while it was true phase two was to be a year longer than phase one, there was less traffic on phase two.
The Irish Times