The last bottleneck between Dundalk and Cork is now set to be removed. Work will start next year on upgrading the Newlands Cross bottleneck on the main Dublin to Cork and Limerick road, while the N11 between Arklow and Rathnew will also be upgraded to four lanes.
The funding of more than €100m is set to be provided under a public private partnership (PPP) involving a significant contribution from the European Investment Bank and the Bank of Ireland. It is the first such arrangement for Irish road projects for a number of years.
Construction will start next year on both projects, and is due to be completed by 2014, at which stage the repayments will commence.
Varadkar said that the announcement was very welcome announcement, particularly at a time when PPP projects are so difficult to get off the ground. “I am delighted to be able to announce the upgrading of Newlands Cross, and of the N11 between Rathnew and Arklow,” he said. “Both projects will make a real difference to the travelling public and to businesses. Each one covers a critical section of road, and is among a handful of stretches which were never resolved during the boom years. Thanks to this new arrangement, the work can finally be initiated.”
He added that the construction process will also create employment for hundreds of people.
The National Roads Administration will now move on to the difficult task of trying to find financial backing for the Gort to Tuam motorway.