New €425m motorway opens
The M7 Nenagh to Limerick motorway, part of which sank into bog, has been opened today by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey.
The 38km stretch of road will result in time savings for the 20,000 vehicles travelling between Limerick and Nenagh every day.
The €425 million project consisted of 28km of dual carriageway built to motorway standard, with a single carriageway link to the main road at Birdhill, and the upgrading of 10km of the Nenagh bypass to motorway standard.
About 25km of this project has been completed and is open to traffic, including a 16km length of road between Nenagh and Birdhill.
The 12.5km section of the Motorway, from Birdhill to Annacotty, is today open to traffic for the first time.
The construction of the project was contracted to Bothar Hibernian four years ago, but the contractors ran into serious difficulties when a section of road collapsed earlier this year.
The difficulties arose at Anaholty bog, about midway between Birdhill and Annacotty, where the road – which was almost complete by the end of last year – unexpectedly started to sink into the bog.
Tens of thousands of steel reinforced concrete piles were initially driven into the bog in an effort to support the road, and a concrete and steel bridge has also been constructed to establish a stable base for the road.
The final section of the M7, from Castletown in Co Laois to Nenagh, will open later this year completing the M7 Inter Urban Motorway between Limerick and Dublin.