There is light at the end of the tunnel for thousands of Laois commuters and businesses who travel to Kildare and Dublin by M7 motorway each day.
Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has welcomed news that further progress has been made the M7 Naas to Newbridge Bypass with the awarding of the contract to SIAC/Colas JV.
“The awarding of today’s contract with SIAC/Colas JV is very welcome and ensures that the much needed widening works on the M7 can commence.
“The contract covers the widening of the M7 to 3 lanes from the Junction 9 (the big ball) to the M7/M9 interchange, the Sallins bypass in addition to the construction of a new interchange at Osberstown,” he said.
It is anticipated that the overall project will be completed by spring 2020.
The Fine Gael TD said that once completed, the works will have a significant impact on motorists from both a safety and reduced travel time perspective.
"Recent figures have confirmed that 11,000 people commute from Co Laois each day for work mostly in Dublin. The widening of the M7 should help to ease the congestion at busy times in particular and will greatly improve their daily commute," he said. "I hope to see progress quickly now that the contact has been awarded."
An Taoiseach, Mr Leo Varadkar, welcomed the announcement: "It's a vital motorway for commuters and for freight transport, which is prone to congestion at peak times."
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, this will be the first of the major road upgrade projects included in the “Building on Recovery” Capital Investment Plan to go to construction.
Michael Nolan CEO Transport Infrastructure Ireland said traffic flow would improve along the M7 corridor and there would be national national benefits. "It will enhance safety and reduce traffic delays for all road users travelling to and from Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Limerick.”
Kildare County Council will oversee the project. Its chief executive is Peter Carey. The Laois resident oversaw significant motorway extension when he was the top official at Laois County Council.
“We welcome today’s contract award which will not only underpin economic recovery in this country, but also represents a tremendous investment in our local economy, improving the attractiveness of Kildare as a location for business and Tourism opportunities," he said.
The scheme includes 6 new structures, including two bridges over the River Liffey, a bridge over the Grand Canal, the new Osberstown Interchange bridge over the M7 motorway and a minor road bridge carrying Osberstown Road over the Sallins Bypass. The Sallins Bypass bridge under the main Dublin Cork railway line will be constructed by Irish Rail under a separate but parallel contract.
Traffic Management will be in place along the M7 from junction 9 Naas North to junction 11 M7/M9 at various phases during the term of construction. 2 lanes of traffic will be maintained at all times between 6am and 10pm. For the duration of active construction works there will be a special speed limit in place. An emergency lane will be available through the works at all times.
The M7 carries approximately 70,000 Vehicles per day and is the main network connection to M9/Waterford, M8/Cork and M7/Limerick.