Go-ahead for €215m bypass of New Ross

Route part of Government’s jobs stimulus but scheme criticised as ‘vanity project’

The Wexford-New Ross N25 road.

The Coalition has given the go-ahead for a €215 million bypass of New Ross in Co Wexford.

The 16km dual carriageway, to be built under a public private partnership, is one of four previously stalled road schemes which were identified as a suitable jobs-stimulus package by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

Approval for the National Roads Authority to put the project out to tender follows the recent decision to proceed with the Gort to Tuam motorway in Co Galway, also under a public-private partnership.

The remaining two schemes in the bundle of four are the combined Rathnew, Co Wicklow and Newlands Cross, Co Dublin scheme, and the M11 bypass of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.


Work on the preliminary design and land acquisition for the N25 New Ross bypass is already complete but the process of final design, selection of a private sector partner and awarding of a contract is expected to take more than a year. Work on the road is not likely to begin until 2015 and it is expected to be completed in 2017.

The main structural feature of the scheme is the new bridge over the Barrow which will be an “extrados” bridge of approximately 900m, with the two main central spans of about 230m in length. An extrados bridge employs a structure that is frequently described as a cross between a girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge.

However, the proposed bypass has been criticised by opponents of the scheme. It was described by James Nix, Ireland co-ordinator of the Brussels-based Transport Environment lobby group, as "largely a vanity project". He criticised what he called the "gargantuan span of a bridge" over the Barrow, which ignored an established road reservation.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist