On the road to Ballinasloe – Ireland’s new Motorway
A new road between Ballinasloe and Athlone, makes up the final stretch of Ireland’s newly completed M6 motorway linking Dublin in the east to Galway on the west coast, and allowing motorists to travel coast-to-coast on almost continuous motorway.
A road construction project which opened to traffic on 23 July 2009 and was declared Motorway on 28th August 2009, comprises 19.3 kilometres of National Primary Route (N6) between Athlone and Ballinasloe. It is part of the larger M4/M6 Dublin to Galway Major Inter-Urban route.
Quicker, further, safer
The scheme links the Galway to East Ballinasloe Scheme with the Athlone Bypass. This new road shortens journey times, improves competitiveness, provides safer travel and removes 12 300 vehicles per day from the previous single carriageway.
This infrastructure project links the Galway to East Ballinasloe scheme and the existing Athlone Bypass, passing through the towns of Monksland, Mihanboy, Drum, Ardkeenan, Shannonbridge, Loughlackagh, Tonvey, Kilbegley and Ballinasloe. It involved the design and construction of 19.3 kilometres of D2M Standard Motorway (dual two-lane motorway), 2.8 kilometres of regional road with a single carriageway cross section and 3.31 kilometres of local road tie-ins and local road networks links, also with a single carriageway cross section.
Work on the project has also included 12.7 kilometres of accommodation works access tracks, and 14 bridges including 2 over the Galway to Dublin railway line. Permanent fencing has also been erected along the length of the route, as well as safety barrier systems, emergency exit points and a Gárda (Police) observation post, along with various traffic signs, road markings and road lighting systems. Re-alignments of streams and the provision of culverts and drainage outfalls have also been incorporated into the project.
The scheme modifies the existing junction at the western end of the Athlone bypass and ties into a new grade separated junction at Tulrush on the east side of Ballinasloe, and one compact grade separated junction at Monksland, just west of Athlone.
Boosting the economy
This project provides an important boost for national industrial and commercial sectors. Tourism will also benefit, with tourists benefiting from safer and shorter journey times. The M6 Ballinasloe Motorway route is part of the strategic National Primary Road network development programme undertaken by Transport 21, traversing Ireland from Dublin to Gallway.
Once completed, it will fall under the remit of the National Roads Authority and the Local Authority of Roscommon Council to maintain. The cost of maintenance will be met from the state grants provided by the National Roads Authority.