Two of Ireland’s most important infrastructure projects are being officially opened this week signallingfaster travel times and significantly improved road safety for motorists and the general public both northand south of the border.
The opening of the A1 Beech Hill to Cloghogue dual carriageway at Newry represents the final link in the new road corridor linking Belfast and Dublin, whilst the newly completed Limerick Tunnel is a major feat of civil engineering that will divert 40,000 vehicles a day from Limerick city centre, easing traffic congestion and reducing CO2 emissions.
For Lagan Construction the openings are a major achievement, marking the successful completion of two key projects which have provided employment for over 350 people for the last four years.
The NewryBypass – a key section of the £250M DBFO 2 road scheme, Northern Ireland’s largest ever highway project – was commissioned by DRD Roads Service in December 2007 and was completed five months ahead of schedule. The project was delivered by Amey Lagan Roads Ltd, with the new works undertaken by Lagan Ferrovial, a joint venture between Lagan Construction and Ferrovial Agroman Ireland.
The project was carried out whilst the route was in use by in excess of 20,000 vehicles daily and involved the construction of 12.1km of high standard dual carriageway, five flyover junctions, 16 bridge structures, 26 culvert crossings and 200,000m3 of rock cutting.
The opening of the Limerick Tunnel is the culmination of many years of planning, design and construction of a project that was first conceived in the 1970s. Awarded by National Roads Authority in late 2006, the €400M (£334M) construction project was delivered three months early on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis by DirectRoute Limerick, a consortium comprising Lagan Construction, John Sisk & Son, Strabag and Roadbridge.
The PPP scheme is an integral part of the strategic national primary route linking the Limerick southern ring road and the N20 Cork/Tralee road at Rossbrien with the N18 Ennis road near Cratloe Castle. A key aspect was the construction of the tunnel itself - a 675m long tube running beneath the River Shannon at Limerick. In addition, 10km of new dual carriageway, five river crossings, four underpasses and two toll plazas along with associated utilities and connecting roads have been built.
Commented Lagan Projects Managing Director Gerry Cawley, who is also Director of Amey Lagan Roads and Chairman of DirectRoute Limerick: “This is an historic week for Irish people living on both sides of the border. The openings of the Newry Bypass and the Limerick Tunnel represent significant developments in road safety, travel times and traffic congestion in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, boosting our economies and helping to improve life in our communities.
“The fact that these challenging projects were both delivered ahead of programme and within budget is a testament to the hard work, ingenuity and dedication of the construction teams as well as the numerous other parties who were involved in their successful completion.”