The 23km Waterford city toll-bypass is to officially open later today 10 months ahead of schedule.
Part of the N25, the road was developed at a cost of more than €500 million and will feature the longest cable-stayed bridge in the State.
The 465m bridge spanning the river Suir will be officially opened by the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen and chairman of the National Roads Authority Peter Malone at 12.30pm today.
Sightseers and pedestrians will be free to wander the length and breadth of the bridge, following the ceremony before motorised traffic is allowed across it from about 4.30pm.
Charges for using the route are to be €1 for motorbikes, €1.90 for cars and €3.40 for buses and coaches. Goods vehicles pay a maximum of €6.10.
It is expected that 14,000 vehicles will use the route each day, reducing volumes in Waterford city by about 30 per cent and removing up to 12,000 vehicles a day from the city’s quays.
The new route begins at Kilmeadan to the west of the city and crosses the River Suir to tie in with the existing N25 route to Rosslare, Waterford and Cork to the east, at Slieverue village.
The bypass includes a new connection, known as the Western Link, to industrial areas to the southwest of Waterford city. It also links to the M9/N9 and N24 to the Grannagh Interchange.
The route is expected to cut 20 minutes off the journey on the N25 between Cork to the port of Rosslare, via Waterford city. The current N25 route passes along the congested city quays and crosses the River Suir over Rice Bridge.