Limerick Transport

Re: Limerick Transport

Postby CologneMike » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:50 pm

Limerick national roads will turn into motorways (Limerick Leader)

By Mike Dwane

THREE "new" motorways in the Limerick area are set to open by the end of August, according to the Department of Transport.

It's not a matter of the National Roads Authority completing projects in record time as the roads are already built. But using powers under the Roads Act of 2007, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey has at the stroke of a pen designated almost 300km of national primary roads and dual carriageways as motorways.

It means that the speed limit on roads around Limerick increases from 100kph to 120kph except for where a special speed limit applies, such as the 50kph speed limit approaching the Rosbrien interchange to facilitate construction work there.

The roads include the 8.5km Limerick Southern Ring Road (Phase One) from Annacotty to Rosbrien; and the 5km section of the main road to Cork (N20) as far as Attyflin/Patrickswell.

The section of the N18 from Shannon to Galway (It should read Ennis?) has also been designated as a motorway although construction between Limerick and Shannon to facilitate the Limerick Tunnel project means the 100kph limit remains in force here.

Sean O'Neill, NRA, told the Limerick Leader that these roads have all been completed to "high quality dual carriageway standard" by the contractors appointed by the Authority.

"In terms of the road engineering and the quality of the design, there is no difference between a high quality dual carriageway and a motorway. It is only a legal distinction," said Mr O'Neill, explaining the legalities related to restrictions of particular road users and the maximum allowable speed.

Minister Dempsey's move means that the above roads will be off limits from August 28 for learner drivers, vehicles with engines under 50cc, vehicles not capable of a speed of 50 kph, pedestrians and cyclists.

Speaking on Monday, Minister Dempsey said: "By declaring these sections of road to be motorways, it will create uniformity of speed limits across major sections of the national network and protect this major public investment from inappropriate development. The primary function of a national motorway network is to allow people, goods and services to travel safely and efficiently throughout the country."
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:16 am

CologneMike wrote:Limerick national roads will turn into motorways (Limerick Leader)


August 28th is the date the redesignations will come into effect. Hopefully phase 2 of the Southern Ring will also be given motorway status once it opens or soon afterwards.

Blue signs have been erected (a tad early) on the Loughmore junction near Dell. This will become J2 of the newly created M20 although by my reckoning it should be J3?

Photo courtesy of Zoney

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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby BluntGuy » Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:46 am

I would say this is J3 as well.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:23 am

Limerick Tunnel Update

Summer 2009 Newsletter

The stretch between Rossbrien and the Dock Road has really begun to take shape over the last 6 weeks or so and could well be open before the year is out.

Of course the only problem with this is the fact that all the traffic will have to exit at the woefully underpowered and inadequate Dock Road interchange. Access from the M20 northbound to the city centre at Rossbrien will of course be removed, resulting in significant extra volumes accessing the city centre via the Dock Road. A traffic nightmare is definitely on the cards here!:mad:

The following 2 photos were taken by tech2 at boards.ie

Ballykeeffe overbridge towards St Nessan's Road overbridge

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Ballykeeffe overbridge looking towards Dock Road interchange

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N7/N18 interchange:cool:

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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Goofy » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:18 pm

I noticed today that there are extensive road works taking place on sexton street. I have also heard that some work has been going on in the Costeloes Yard/ St Johns Pavilion area. Are these works related to the City Centre Orbital route?
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:14 pm

Goofy wrote:I noticed today that there are extensive road works taking place on sexton street. I have also heard that some work has been going on in the Costeloes Yard/ St Johns Pavilion area. Are these works related to the City Centre Orbital route?


More than likely. A new link road is being built between Cathedral Place and Sexton Street which involves the demolition of St. John's pavillion.

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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:36 pm

With preliminary works for the new link road now underway, one would have thought that the issue of St. John's Pavillion would have been sorted!

Limerick band set to be drummed out of home (Limerick Leader)

By Nick Rabbitts

ONE of the city's oldest brass bands could be homeless after Limerick City Council gave them until next Tuesday to vacate its Newtownmahon premises.
Two years ago, the St John's Brass & Reed Band - founded in 1865 - were served with a compulsory purchase order by city hall as their premises was earmarked to make way for the new city centre orbital road.

But the group claim despite numerous representations to City Hall after it was asked to identify similar facilities to replace their current bandhall, they have not heard anything, aside from the letter informing them they had just a week to move out of their bandhall - which has been their home since 1954.

And last week, the final straw came when band bosses arrived at the bandhall to find building contractors outside their premises.

Band secretary Sean Hartigan believes had he not driven past the bandhall, opposite Limerick Fire Station, it could have been destroyed altogether.

"I was driving past, and saw some bulldozers (to the back] of the building. They were pushing things over and knocking things down. Immediately I parked my car and went in, where I found the foreman of the site. Outside our back door, I found tonnes of rubble which blocked our emergency exit. He (the foreman] came over and told me they would 'look after' our building shortly. I told him they cannot knock this building because it is privately owned by the band," he explained.
According to Sean, the foreman said that he had not been told of the fact the bandroom was still occupied.

He added the band was disappointed by "the failure of Limerick city council - whether deliberate or inadvertent - to inform the site foreman that our bandroom was still occupied and contained valuable and extensive collections of sheet music, as well as instruments, stands and other property."

The bands' musical director John Doyle admitted he is fearful as to what might happen to their equipment if they do not find even a temporary home by next week.

As we went to press this Tuesday , no spokesman from the city council was available.


If a CPO is issued, then the property owners are entitled to compensation or more appropriately in this case, an alternative premises.

Limerick City Council; a model of professionalism as usual!:rolleyes:
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:07 pm

Motorway redesignation works are stepping up a gear on the soon to be M20. As I was passing today, the studs were being removed from the hard shoulder between the Raheen and Patrickswell junctions in preparation for its re-painting. This caused a fair few problems for traffic I might add, they would probably be better off doing this work at night time.

Most of the new signs and junction countdown markers are now in place along with the "end of motorway" signs on the off-slips.

As for the junction numbers. The Rossbrien Interchange will indeed be J1 while Patrickswell will now be J4. Attyflin, the TOTSO for N20 southbound was previously signed as "Exit 4" but the No.4 has now disappeared from that sign.

It will be interesting to see how they manage with the re-signing of the overhead gantries approaching this junction. Overall they've done a good job so far, hopefully they wont mess this part up!

Photos courtesy of tech2

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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby CologneMike » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:44 am

Ennis concerns over increase in speed limit for bypass

PAT FLYNN and TIM O'BRIEN

Tue, Aug 25, 2009

AS THE Department of Transport prepares to formally redesignate a number of the State’s new dual-carriageways as motorways, concern has arisen in Co Clare that the Ennis bypass is not suitable for the increased speeds.

The redesignation will involve a number of new dual-carriageways across the State, which the National Roads Authority says were built to motorway standards, being redesignated in a move which will raise the speed limit for motorists from 100km/h to 120km/h.
However, locals in Co Clare claim that the Ennis dual-carriageway, where the speed limit will increase from this Friday, was originally intended to cater for speeds up to 80km/h and is not designed for or safe enough for anything higher.

Retired consultant engineer Nigel Barnes said he believed elements of the bypass were “frightening and totally inappropriate” to cater for speeds of 120km/h.
Mr Barnes said: “At an oral hearing during the consultation process prior to work commencing on the Ennis bypass project, documentation was produced which clearly stated that the design speed limit for the route would be 50m/h [80km/h].”

Clare County Councillors Brian Meaney (Green) and Johnny Flynn (Fine Gael), a civil engineer and former chief fire officer for Co Limerick, have already called for a full safety audit of the project to be undertaken before the redesignation of Ennis bypass goes ahead.
Cllr Meaney sought Mr Barnes’s advice on planning matters relating to the project after issues were raised by locals in the Barefield area, near Ennis, about aspects of the project.

Mr Barnes, who has worked on other road projects in Ireland, said: “This route was originally designed to cater for speeds of no more than 50m/h. If the Ennis bypass is upgraded to motorway and has a speed limit of 120km/h, people will get hurt.”
He said the slip roads at the Tulla Road interchange in Ennis and at Barefield further north were too short and dangerous to cater for motorists slowing down from 120km/h.
Several collisions have already occurred at both locations.

However, a spokeswoman for the National Roads Authority said the road was fully tested for compliance with motorway design, including the interchanges, prior to a recommendation being made that they be redesignated.

She said the authority was aware of the concern locally, and the authority had arranged to reassess its designation for the Ennis bypass. However, it had been found to be within safety parameters.

© 2009 The Irish Times


So when changing the signs from green to blue the short comings of the new N18 / M18 bypass come to light. That sucks! Nobody in Ennis saw this when the plans were designed?

Another stretch on the N18 (M18) at Cratloe where a row of houses are positioned along the hard shoulder (car parking included). This will also be another stumbling block to deal with, before the NRA get out their blue signs!

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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:43 pm

CologneMike wrote:So when changing the signs from green to blue the short comings of the new N18 / M18 bypass come to light. That sucks! Nobody in Ennis saw this when the plans were designed?

Another stretch on the N18 (M18) at Cratloe where a row of houses are positioned along the hard shoulder (car parking included). This will also be another stumbling block to deal with, before the NRA get out their blue signs!

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That part of the road at Cratloe is not being redesignated as motorway. The M18 starts at the shannon airport interchange and continues until just after the Barefield junction. From Coonagh to the airport will still be N18, 100km/h.

I would also concur on the points about the Tulla and Ennis (Barefield) junctions on the proposed new motorway. These are slip roads at best. No opportunity to merge with 120km/h traffic at all. And not sufficient room to decellerate from such speeds to turn off the motorway.
Having said all that, most road users have treated that road like a motorway since it opened anyway and (touch wood) there have been no accidents so far.

This does not excuse the deficiencies in any way though.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby reddy » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:48 pm

Have to agree. The decelleration as you move lanes into the slip road for the Tulla exit is pretty extreme and the slip road then swings sharply. I've been in the car with a few drivers who got a fright and felt it was a bit hairy.

In fairness to the town council they've lobbied and lobbied from the very start of the design process for better and more frequent interchanges.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:04 pm

Yeah the Tulla turn-off heading south is especially dangerous because it's less than a mile from the start of the dual-carriageway. People vent their frustration at having been stuck on the awful two lane road for an hour and go from a 70km/h average speed up to over 100 and then try to slow down again for the 90degree turn off.

I think a similar lobby has developed around the Gort bypass now too. I've seen signs on telephone poles around the town, I think they're unhappy at having only one interchange is it?
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:55 pm

The Ennis bypass was designed and built as a standard dual carriageway rather than a HQDC. However it is well within the design specifications for a motorway, the sightlines are excellent as is the road surface.

Fair enough the on/off slips are a bit tighter than what we have become used to in this country but as CologneMike could confirm, these type of junctions are extremely common on the Continent and they cope just fine there!

If it really is an issue, a simple remedy would be to extend the acelleration and de-celleration lanes by repainting the hard shoulder for the required distance.

Reddy, I dont think you can argue for more frequent interchances. If anything there are too many already between Dromoland and Barefield,with another one at Crusheen coming on stream next year. Are 2 interchanges required to service the hamlets of Barefield and Crusheen? Surely one between the two of them would've been enough?

Finally, I wouldn't pay too much attention to the "concerns" of local councillors given their penchant for inappropriate ribbon development up there. Didn't Clare County Council get reprimanded by the NRA a couple of years back!:rolleyes:
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:22 pm

Tuborg wrote:If anything there are too many already between Dromoland and Barefield,with another one at Crusheen coming on stream next year. Are 2 interchanges required to service the hamlets of Barefield and Crusheen? Surely one between the two of them would've been enough?


Are you kidding Tuborg? Or trying to draw people out?

Crusheen and Barefield are pretty removed from each other (around 7km) and the route of the new road passes close to both townlands so why shouldn't they have access to it?

These roads have a responsibility to the places that they bypass too, you know?
They're not built solely for the benefit of intercity commuters or bank-holiday drivers.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:47 pm

foremanjoe wrote:Are you kidding Tuborg? Or trying to draw people out?

Crusheen and Barefield are pretty removed from each other (around 7km) and the route of the new road passes close to both townlands so why shouldn't they have access to it?

These roads have a responsibility to the places that they bypass too, you know?
They're not built solely for the benefit of intercity commuters or bank-holiday drivers.


You're wrong actually, motorways are specifically designed for high speed, long distance travel. The old N18 and the local road network is more than adequate to cater for the needs of the local communities.

Are you seriously saying that two tiny villages only km's apart with a population of a couple of hundred people between them, deserve a dedicated junction each? How many cars are going to use these each day, 20? This is an example of parish pump planning at it's worst!

A single interchange located an equal distance between the two would have been more than enough!
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:22 pm

Tuborg wrote:You're wrong actually, motorways are specifically designed for high speed, long distance travel. The old N18 and the local road network is more than adequate to cater for the needs of the local communities.

Are you seriously saying that two tiny villages only km's apart with a population of a couple of hundred people between them, deserve a dedicated junction each? How many cars are going to use these each day, 20? This is an example of parish pump planning at it's worst!

A single interchange located an equal distance between the two would have been more than enough!


Of course motorways are designed specifically for long distance travel, I never questioned that fact, what I said was that these roads have a responsibility to the communities that they bypass too. This function is carried out by removing high volume traffic from the local roads, allowing people to drive to the post office or shop without spending 5 or 10 minutes sitting at a junction. This should be done without cutting off local access to the country's major arteries.

Your solution of positioning the interchange midway between the villages would be plausible, except for the fact that the Barefield interchange also acts as the access road to the north of Ennis town, moving this even further away from the town would be seen as cutting the number of interchanges to Ennis and would be vehemently opposed by town residents and councillors alike.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:49 pm

Tuborg wrote:Reddy, I dont think you can argue for more frequent interchances. If anything there are too many already between Dromoland and Barefield,with another one at Crusheen coming on stream next year. Are 2 interchanges required to service the hamlets of Barefield and Crusheen? Surely one between the two of them would've been enough?


Why are you so stingy about interchanges anyway Tuborg?

It benefits local people and doesn't overburden the budget of a road. By that I mean that most minor roads have to have bridges or tunnels built to cross the new roads, and building sliproads for every 3rd or 4th minor road that crosses the main road should be a fairly acceptable addition to the cost of a new road.

You seem to lack a fundamental understanding of daily existence in the "hamlets" whose interchanges you would deny. Sure, the lack of an access road for Crusheen wouldn't be the end of the world, but if it enhances life in the village by 5 or 10% then it's not a bad thing.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:58 pm

foremanjoe wrote:Why are you so stingy about interchanges anyway Tuborg?

It benefits local people and doesn't overburden the budget of a road. By that I mean that most minor roads have to have bridges or tunnels built to cross the new roads, and building sliproads for every 3rd or 4th minor road that crosses the main road should be a fairly acceptable addition to the cost of a new road.
You seem to lack a fundamental understanding of daily existence in the "hamlets" whose interchanges you would deny. Sure, the lack of an access road for Crusheen wouldn't be the end of the world, but if it enhances life in the village by 5 or 10% then it's not a bad thing.


I find that an incredible statement. Motorways are not and never should be designed to provide access to every little crossroads. Peppering a motorway with pointless junctions reduces the efficiency of the road and shortens its service life by opening it up for planning abuse. In this case, the design of the Barefield and Crusheen junctions are a crooked councillors/developers wet dream.

The M18 dosent " cut off local access" either, overbridges/underbridges are provided to facilitate local traffic. Local people can drive over/under the motorway on their existing road network and access the motorway via its junction with the downgraded N18!

You have to remember that from north of Ennis to Rathmorrissey (junction with M6), the M18 passes through extremely sparcely populated areas with no large towns, therefore only 3 junctions are being provided.

The traffic levels simply are not there to justify any more and this should also have been the case with Barefield/Crusheen. It's nothing to do with being "stingy", its about proper, sustainable planning. Something it appears that is alien to us in this country unfortunately!:rolleyes:
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:49 pm

We're obviously very different individuals Tuborg, as my idea of sustainable planning, in relation to transport infrastructure, is that it should improve the connectivity of all of the country.

The attitude that you are conveying reminds me of the one that led to the decommissioning of the railways in the 50s.

And I also fail to understand your argument that the frequency of interchanges that we're talking about would affect the efficiency of the motorway, especially when placed alongside your earlier assertion that only about 20 cars a day would use the slip roads.
If a motorway can't sustain that vast volume of traffic entering/exiting at such frequent intervals then there's not much hope for it in the first place.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby CologneMike » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:06 am

foremanjoe wrote:That part of the road at Cratloe is not being redesignated as motorway. The M18 starts at the shannon airport interchange and continues until just after the Barefield junction. From Coonagh to the airport will still be N18, 100km/h.


This will remain so until they solve access to those houses located along the hard shoulder at Cratloe. This makes a mockery of building the Tunnel, Flyovers between Limerick and Shannon. :mad:

foremanjoe wrote:. . . . as my idea of sustainable planning, in relation to transport infrastructure, is that it should improve the connectivity of all of the country.


The village of Crusheen will remain connected to the rest of Ireland via the old N18 primary road. i.e.
  • Ennis (Hub Centre) direction with access to the southbound M18 (7 km).
  • Gort (Hub Centre) direction with access to the northbound M18 (16 km).


I think Ennis town with a population of 25.000 is very well served by 4 Motorway Junctions along a 12 Km stretch!

i.e Dromoland, Killow, Tulla and Barefield junctions.

The Atlantic Corridor Route needs to connect these hubs and gateways with an optimum motorway speed. Too many entrances / exits on a short stretch will lead to a lower speed limit for safety reasons, thus undermining the advantages of motorways i.e. reduced travelling times and road safety.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby reddy » Fri Aug 28, 2009 11:15 am

Ennis and environs has a population of 32,000 and is expected to grow to 50,000 in the next 15-20 years so this infrastructure is absolutely necessary to enable the proper and sustainable growth of the town.

The point I made about interchanges was in defense of the town council who you said failed to see the redsignation of the dual carriageway - they did foresee this and tried their very best to have the junctions upgraded.

I'm no expert and I know what you're saying about the Atlantic corridor and speed but the design placed the major entrance point for Ennis at Killow and the Western Relief Road (which has been a boon) but there's an argument that this will lead to an imbalance in development in the town and has already added pressure to certain routes into the town centre.

Personally I feel a dual arrangement with major interchanges at Tulla and Killow would have been better with the Quin road possibly receiving a smaller one. It seems like the same thinking which led to the undersizing of the M50 all those years ago.

I don't think properly designed interchanges with the requisite capacity really slow the motorway much.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby CologneMike » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:54 pm

reddy wrote:Ennis and environs has a population of 32,000 and is expected to grow to 50,000 in the next 15-20 years so this infrastructure is absolutely necessary to enable the proper and sustainable growth of the town.


That’s a good point because therein lies the danger that future Ennis environs will end up using the M18 as an “Eastern Relief Road” instead of it being a “Motorway Bypass”.

Imagine a Mega Retail Park area emerging around the Tulla Junction area. Will we then see large volumes of “local traffic” just hopping on and off the M18 to access it?

reddy wrote:The point I made about interchanges was in defense of the town council who you said failed to see the redsignation of the dual carriageway - they did foresee this and tried their very best to have the junctions upgraded.


Were they no mechanisms open to them like An Bord Pleanala regarding say the design of the Tulla Junction?

reddy wrote:. . . . the Western Relief Road (which has been a boon) . . . .


Needless to say everybody south of Ennis (Shannon / Limerick areas) heading to the beaches hail the N85 Western Relief Road. It would make since to complete it by adding an eastern / northern part to it. Thus creating a local circular road around the town and it would greatly facilitate the future expansion plans of the town (city).

reddy wrote:I don't think properly designed interchanges with the requisite capacity really slow the motorway much.


I agree, but poorly designed ones feeding onto / from a two lane motorway do.
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:41 pm

foremanjoe wrote:We're obviously very different individuals Tuborg, as my idea of sustainable planning, in relation to transport infrastructure, is that it should improve the connectivity of all of the country.


Motorways are high speed, long distance routes linking major population centres. Connectivity to smaller towns & villages is provided by regional routes and local roads. Building motorway interchanges to cater for a handful of people living in tiny settlements in sparcely populated areas certainly does not constitute sustainable planning in my book!


And I also fail to understand your argument that the frequency of interchanges that we're talking about would affect the efficiency of the motorway, especially when placed alongside your earlier assertion that only about 20 cars a day would use the slip roads.
If a motorway can't sustain that vast volume of traffic entering/exiting at such frequent intervals then there's not much hope for it in the first place.


I was referring to motorways in general. The M18 is a very different beast, it passes through very lightly populated areas and traffic levels will be very low by normal motorway standards. Therefore very few junctions are required. In the case of the 2 junctions for Barefield/Crusheen, I just feel it’s a waste of money and sets a bad precedent.

Indeed we’re actually lucky to be getting a motorway at all because had the decision been based solely on traffic levels, then it wouldn’t be justified at all. However the need to link the country’s 3rd and 4th largest cities by means of a high quality roadway was ultimately the deciding factor. We should be grateful that we’re getting this excellent piece of infrastructure and not be seeking to abuse it by throwing in access points willy-nilly!

Finally, I have to take issue with your last point. Your definition of “frequent” junctions does not equate to good motorway design . Access points on a motorway are controlled and limited so as to discourage motorists from using it for short trips, which causes weaving/merging issues etc. Just because the M18 is going to be less busy than other motorways doesn’t mean the design manual should be thrown out the window and then in true Irish style make up our own rules as we go along! Ah sure t’will be grand!:rolleyes:
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby Tuborg » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:17 pm

CologneMike wrote:This will remain so until they solve access to those houses located along the hard shoulder at Cratloe. This makes a mockery of building the Tunnel, Flyovers between Limerick and Shannon. :mad:



Yeah, the N18 between Limerick and Shannon dates from the 1970s so unfortunately it's well below the standard of modern dual carriageways. In fairness though, the various median crossings have been gradually closed over the last few years and the last one at the Radisson hotel is to be replaced by a roundabout as part of the Limerick tunnel project.

It is a pity that we are going to have a gap in the network between the end of the ring road and the M18 but I guess at least it's of reasonable enough standard.

The NRA have said that the upgrading of Limerick to Shannon forms part of their future plans. It would be quite a big job though, requiring new grade separated junction(s), service roads to facilitate residents living along the route and the road surface would also need to be completely excavated and renewed as it is quite undulating in parts. Having said all that I wouldn't expect this to happen any time soon though!
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Re: Limerick Transport

Postby foremanjoe » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:44 pm

Tuborg wrote:Just because the M18 is going to be less busy than other motorways doesn’t mean the design manual should be thrown out the window and then in true Irish style make up our own rules as we go along! Ah sure t’will be grand!:rolleyes:


Why is there so much Paddy-bashing on this website?
It seems to be the bottom-of-the-barrel argument most used when irresolvable differences in opinion occur in a debate.

"Only in Ireland..." and "On the Continent..." are used with such frequency in these fora that it makes one wonder where all these great minds are hiding when all the "typically Irish" design errors are being made in the first place!

Perhaps this new post-Oirish generation has only evolved along with the relatively recent access to the Interweb, or maybe that is the only medium in which they feel comfortable sniping from.

It is an utterly self-defeating argument and its profligate use on these pages is becoming a cause of increasing frustration and worry to me.
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