A DEAL to provide the first of the Republic’s motorway service areas was signed yesterday between a Superstop consortium and the National Roads Authority (NRA).
The motorway service areas are to be provided at three locations on the M1 and M4 motorways by the end of next year – motorists on the State’s other new motorways to Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford will have to wait indefinitely for similar facilities.
The new motorway service areas, to be built by a public-private partnership at a cost of more than €100 million, are on the M1 at Castlebellingham, Co Louth, and at Lusk, Co Dublin; and on the M4 at Enfield on the Meath/Kildare border. The NRA will provide €47 million in finance and the land, said to be worth €20 million.
Because of the provision of service areas on both sides of the motorways in the three locations concerned, six facilities are to be built.
The service areas will include shops, fuel pumps, parking areas for lorries, restaurants and hot showers. Construction is expected to begin this month and to be completed by the end of next year.
The service areas are to operate 24 hours a day. The Superstop concession is for 25 years, after which the service areas revert to the roads authority.
Some 500 jobs are to be created during the construction phase, with about half that number when the sites are operational, according to the roads authority.
Twelve locations along the network had been identified for service areas and the NRA was planning to have service areas on all inter-urban motorways by 2010. However, it is understood the authority has been told to halt the programme pending a better economic outlook.
A programme for the development of rest and toilet areas was also halted following advice that they could become locations for behaviour deemed anti-social.