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History of our old T (Trunk) and L (Link) roads

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  • 31-12-2008 1:53pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭


    Firstly, can anyone shed some light on the old T-road (trunk road) system, such as how long it had been in operation, and when and why it was abandoned?

    What were the T-road routes? Can anyone remember actually using them before the N-road changeover?

    Secondly, regarding the N-road system, what improvement works were carried out on these roads in the 20 years or so after they became N roads? I mean, I presume the N1, N6, N7, N8 and N8 existed as smaller regional roads for hundreds and hundreds of years before they became major national routes, but when were they widened? The old N8, for example, was obviously subject to quite a few works south of Urlingford in past years: it was noticibly sunk into the ground by a good ten feet or more, leaving embankments on either side. I am told that no real widening works occurred during the 90s, and that the old N8 (now R639) has been the way it is since at least the 70s. Is this right?

    Lastly, has anyone read this book: Ireland's Principal Roads AD 1899 - 1979 by Peter O'Keefe (September, 2004)
    It's listed on the NRA's site as one of their 'general publications', but I can't find it on amazon.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,941 ✭✭✭✭Stark


    You've probably seen it (or even wrote it!) already, but there's a short mention of them on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roads_in_Ireland#Old_system

    ⛥ ̸̱̼̞͛̀̓̈́͘#C̶̼̭͕̎̿͝R̶̦̮̜̃̓͌O̶̬͙̓͝W̸̜̥͈̐̾͐Ṋ̵̲͔̫̽̎̚͠ͅT̸͓͒͐H̵͔͠È̶̖̳̘͍͓̂W̴̢̋̈͒͛̋I̶͕͑͠T̵̻͈̜͂̇Č̵̤̟̑̾̂̽H̸̰̺̏̓ ̴̜̗̝̱̹͛́̊̒͝⛥



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,978 ✭✭✭✭mike65


    T=Trunk Many of these were downgraded to county roads while the L roads are nearly all county roads I think ,the link road classification was still in use in the mid 80s

    Anyone with copies of the 1963era OS maps can thrill to the old definitions and the red/yellow marking for Link roads.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Stark wrote: »
    You've probably seen it (or even wrote it!) already, but there's a short mention of them on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roads_in_Ireland#Old_system

    :D

    I did read that, but didn't write it. It prompts more questions than answers. I'd love to expand that section some time, or maybe even give it its own article, but I need to gather the information first. I just sent an email to the NRA requesting information on that book.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,639 ✭✭✭Zoney


    I was under the impression that a lot of the work of adding hard shoulders to the old N roads took place in the 1980s. I think I remember such work on some part of the N7 in the early 90s too though. The existing N7 (soon to be R445) has now been entirely resurfaced/relaid from Limerick to Nenagh. Just as well, as it is likely to be one of those quite busy R roads. I think the lower speed limit, however much it will outrage locals and serious motorists, will be quite warranted on this stretch - the random junctions, poor sightlines and curves just combine to make a quite dangerous stretch of road - all the more so when people drive like maniacs just because it has a decent surface. Nevertheless, all R roads should have such a good surface even if they remain 80 km/h. There are relatively few decent sections of R road or old N road that would be appropriate for 100 km/h (although I certainly agree that councils should get their act together and get such stretches reclassified - e.g. dual carriageway sections for one thing!)


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,018 ✭✭✭✭murphaph


    Many of the N roads simply replaced T roads but the N8 was a radical departure from the old T road from Dublin to Cork. T and N existed side-by-side for a while but as signage was so dreadful nobody noticed I'm sure!


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Does anyone know why the change took place (especially with the N8)?

    I remember Lennoxschips saying that major improvement works took place along the major routes in the 90s. But most people I've asked (that might remember; I don't) say no, works occurred in the 70s and 80s.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    I do know that historically the Cork to Dublin Raod was via Cahir/Clonmel?Kilkenny/Carlow. I have always assumed that the current N8 (which was partly the route to the Midlands) was improved possibly at the time of the famine and was a turnpike. This route would originally have been through Cashel Holycross and Thurles and up to Roscrea I think


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    The T road network was the N road network till sometime around 1967-1970 although I remember an atlas from c. 1971 or 1972 with T roads not N roads.

    Most of the main roads were the same before and after but the Galway Sligo Road changed from via Ballyhaunis to via Claremorris while the Galway - Ballinasloe road was through Athenry and New INN ( like the M6 will be ) and was changed to via Loughrea instead .

    I do not remember any T roads with hard shoulders , they were an N road thing, sometimes a retrofit but mostly not .

    For maps of T Roads the old shell / aa drivers maps pre 1970 are great !

    http://www.ianbyrne.free-online.co.uk/shellgb.htm


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭Lennoxschips


    Furet wrote: »
    Does anyone know why the change took place (especially with the N8)?

    I remember Lennoxschips saying that major improvement works took place along the major routes in the 90s. But most people I've asked (that might remember; I don't) say no, works occurred in the 70s and 80s.

    Most of the N8 between Cork and Cashel was upgraded heavily in the 1990s with Dick Spring's Eurobillions.

    The original and now defunct Cashel bypass, 2+1 stretches throughout much of North Cork, the Glanmire bypass, etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,396 ✭✭✭✭road_high


    Most of the N8 between Cork and Cashel was upgraded heavily in the 1990s with Dick Spring's Eurobillions.

    The original and now defunct Cashel bypass, 2+1 stretches throughout much of North Cork, the Glanmire bypass, etc.

    You mean Cahir bypass presumably. It was a roundabout ridden inadequate thing that i'm sure anybody regularly using the N8 is glad to see the back of now.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Most of the N8 between Cork and Cashel was upgraded heavily in the 1990s with Dick Spring's Eurobillions.

    The original and now defunct Cashel bypass, 2+1 stretches throughout much of North Cork, etc.

    Thanks for that. Any specifics (years, lengths done, etc.)? The only 2+1 road I know in north Cork is the N20 road outside Mallow.

    I don't know of any original Cashel bypass; there isn't any as far as I know.
    Are you thinking of Cahir? (if you are, that's not defunct; it's the N24 now, and still bypasses Cahir, albeit rather circuitously.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 88,978 ✭✭✭✭mike65


    Deliberate error I suspect ;)


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 67,948 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    Furet wrote: »
    Thanks for that. Any specifics (years, lengths done, etc.)? The only 2+1 road I know in north Cork is the N20 road outside Mallow.

    I don't know of any original Cashel bypass; there isn't any as far as I know.
    Are you thinking of Cahir? (if you are, that's not defunct; it's the N24 now, and still bypasses Cahir, albeit rather circuitously.


    I presume by 2+1 he's referring to the climbing lanes on the N8 through north cork?


    I have an Esso road map of Ireland at home which predates the reclassification; I'm nearly 200 miles away from home right now though.... it should have all the T routes on it.

    I seem to remember the N3 was only 'invented' with N roads, as in it wasn't the T3 - that was the N4.

    And as goes that book, googling for it finds reference saying the NRA published it in 2001; and no entries on any secondhand booksellers - you'd likely have to try the National Library for it at this stage!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭Lennoxschips


    Yeah, I was referring to the Cahir bypass but wrote Cashel instead.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,284 ✭✭✭dubhthach


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    while the Galway - Ballinasloe road was through Athenry and New INN ( like the M6 will be ) and was changed to via Loughrea instead .

    According to my Auld Lad the reason it was moved to go through Loughrea was because the local goverment TD at the time in East Galway was from down around Loughrea and petitioned to have the route moved (passing trade stopping in Loughrea instead of Athenry etc.).


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    I assumed Bobby Molloy was reponsible for the redesignation from T to N but it was his predecessor who announced National Roads ( and National PRIMARY Roads) on the 23rd of July 1969 .

    Molloy became minister less than a year later in 1970 .

    The ' roads redesignation' announcement was not made in the Dáil in July nor was it a statutory instrument .

    Boland refers back to it just below and forward to it elsewhere in statements in the Dáil in June/July 1969 .

    http://snipurl.com/9bae4

    However the yellow line and double yellow line came in that year too :D

    http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1969/en/si/0217.html


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    dubhthach wrote: »
    According to my Auld Lad the reason it was moved to go through Loughrea was because the local goverment TD at the time in East Galway was from down around Loughrea and petitioned to have the route moved (passing trade stopping in Loughrea instead of Athenry etc.).

    That doesn't surprise me.

    Looking at the map, I find it odd that the N6 didn't always go through Athenry - the route seems much more direct.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 220 ✭✭MLM


    The N8 Glanmire bypass was opened in April 1992 following a six year construction period. The section between Watergrasshill and Rathcormack was upgraded in 1988 and 1989. This involved resurfacing, and some widening to include climbing lanes. A hard shoulder existed prior to this upgrade. A newspaper article on the 1988 upgrade stated that it was the first time that this section had been upgraded in 20 years which suggests that the hard shoulder on this section of road would've been constructed in the late sixties.

    Most of the route between Rathcormack and Cahir would have been upgraded between 1989 and 1992, although parts of the section near the Kilcoran lodge Hotel was widened in the mid eighties. Much of the Rathcormack to Cahir section would've had existing hard shoulders, which could possibly also date from the late sixties.

    I think the Cahir bypass opened in 1988.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    MLM wrote: »
    The N8 Glanmire bypass was opened in April 1992 following a six year construction period. The section between Watergrasshill and Rathcormack was upgraded in 1988 and 1989. This involved resurfacing, and some widening to include climbing lanes. A hard shoulder existed prior to this upgrade. A newspaper article on the 1988 upgrade stated that it was the first time that this section had been upgraded in 20 years which suggests that the hard shoulder on this section of road would've been constructed in the late sixties.

    Most of the route between Rathcormack and Cahir would have been upgraded between 1989 and 1992, although parts of the section near the Kilcoran lodge Hotel was widened in the mid eighties. Much of the Rathcormack to Cahir section would've had existing hard shoulders, which could possibly also date from the late sixties.

    I think the Cahir bypass opened in 1988.

    Six years! Jeeezus... Still, it must've been a difficult build.

    Just wondering, are you getting that information from memory or from a published source? I'm very keen to get as much info on this as possible. So, very little was spent on the N8 at least in the past 16 years. Interesting.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 220 ✭✭MLM


    Furet wrote: »
    Six years! Jeeezus... Still, it must've been a difficult build.

    Just wondering, are you getting that information from memory or from a published source? I'm very keen to get as much info on this as possible. So, very little was spent on the N8 at least in the past 16 years. Interesting.

    The information is from memory. The only work I remember post 1992 and pre 2001 is the resurfacing between Glanmire and Watergrasshill. This took place shortly after the completion of the bypass. What was remarkable about it was the method they used to resurface the road.

    The new surface was rolled out like a carpet from an experimental vehicle borrowed from France. As far as I remember the entire section took only a day or two to complete.

    The construction of the Glanmire bypass was hilarious by today's standards. There were times when construction seemed to grind to a halt for months. Every now and then they used to wheel out a JCB or a dumper to do a bit of work. The major structures were built one by one.
    I have a memory of one excavator and one volvo earthmover working on one of the major cuttings for weeks, until someone found a spare bit of cash to get a second excavator to speed things up a little. A grade separated interchange was constructed, but never opened, on the northern end of the bypass. The arrangement put in place instead, caused many an unnecessary accident.

    The Cork Examiner archives would have many articles on N8 road construction during the eighties and nineties. The Glanmire bypass alone must have had about 20 or 30 articles published during its construction. Would be a nightmare to search through them though.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    MLM wrote: »
    A grade separated interchange was constructed, but never opened, on the northern end of the bypass. The arrangement put in place instead, caused many an unnecessary accident.

    Fascinating - I must have a look for that. Thanks very much for your posts, they've been very interesting.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    Back then the contractor could claim for 'cost overruns' and 'redesigns' and then 'cost overruns owing to redesigns' .

    Once they had the contract they were able to completely take the piss.

    Being in Cork they certainly milked it :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭Lennoxschips


    There was definitely work carried out on the N8 after 1992, I can remember driving through major roadworks between Mitchelstown and Cahir in 1995.

    I can also remember driving through Cahir (or, rather, being driven) in the early 90s.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    There was definitely work carried out on the N8 after 1992, I can remember driving through major roadworks between Mitchelstown and Cahir in 1995.

    I can also remember driving through Cahir (or, rather, being driven) in the early 90s.

    My own memory is very vague about that too, but I thought the Cahir bypass was 1990 or 1991. I must compile a list of questions for various loal authorities and use them to update that wiki article.

    EDIT: The bronze statue of a fish on the Suir bridge...I think that was erected when the Cahir bypass was built. There's probably an inscription on it.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 11,539 Mod ✭✭✭✭icdg


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    I assumed Bobby Molloy was reponsible for the redesignation from T to N but it was his predecessor who announced National Roads ( and National PRIMARY Roads) on the 23rd of July 1969 .

    Molloy became minister less than a year later in 1970 .

    The ' roads redesignation' announcement was not made in the Dáil in July nor was it a statutory instrument .

    Boland refers back to it just below and forward to it elsewhere in statements in the Dáil in June/July 1969 .

    http://snipurl.com/9bae4

    However the yellow line and double yellow line came in that year too :D

    http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1969/en/si/0217.html

    There was indeed a Statutory Instrument designating the original routes of the twenty-five national primary routes and the thirty-two national secondary roads, but it didn't come till nearly a decade after that. Apparently it took some time to finalise that list...

    http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1977/en/si/0164.html

    The original T and L road system was never legislated for so the old roads had never been formally designated in the first place. The M/N-road system (note, no R- or L- roads at this point, they came in later) was legislated for in the Local Government (Roads and Motorways) Act 1974 and the roads were declared by SI in 1977. Not long after that, Sylvie Barrett (the Minister for the Environment at the time) launched the new green road signs for national roads (essentially a direct copy of the UK's Warboys Committee signage) which replaced the old white cast-iron signage. Blue motorway signs first appear when the M7 opened in 1983.

    R-roads didn't appear at this stage and weren't legislated for until the Roads Act 1993. They did appear from the early 1980s on signs (often with patches on N road signs with just "R " on it - evidently they took some time to decide what the R-roads were too). Modern signage didn't make its way onto non-national roads until the late 1980s. The current signage system is an update of the 1977 system (with the major change being a different shade of green used and italic text for Irish placenames) and was introduced on 1/1/89 (with updates in 1996 and, well, the ongoing since 2005 revision).

    Finally, L-roads were also legislated for in the Roads Act 1993 but have only just begun appearing on road signs (except for mistakes) in the last two years or so.


  • Registered Users Posts: 577 ✭✭✭Typewriter


    Hear you go lads...

    This route planning map is from an old road atlas of Ireland that has the 'new' N roads and the old T&L roads. There is no date of print in the atlas so its anybody's guess when it was published. (The books cover looks mid-80's)

    http://boards.ie/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=69432&d=1230829831

    http://boards.ie/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=69434&d=1230829999


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    dubhthach wrote: »
    According to my Auld Lad the reason it was moved to go through Loughrea was because the local goverment TD at the time in East Galway was from down around Loughrea and petitioned to have the route moved (passing trade stopping in Loughrea instead of Athenry etc.).

    Never knew this. Not surprising in the slightest though.


    Very interesting thread I must say. All before my time though so I can't make any worthwhile contribution I'm afraid.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    So the old Dublin to Cork route incorporated the old N8, the N24, N76 and N78, before it joined with the present N9 south of Kilcullen and then joined the present N7.

    It passed through lots of notable towns.

    There's definitely a PhD in Irish road history/historical geography for someone out there...

    It would be fascinating to see for how long prior to the twentieth century those old trunk roads were travelled. I suspect many originated after the Norman conquest, and their importance gradually increased during the plantations and Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the seventeenth century. They probably came into their own in the late 1600s/early 1700s. Certainly I'd say they are newer than many of the L roads - a lot of which, I suspect, are well over a thousand years old. L roads in particular often serve as a boundary between two townlands, and townlands are the oldest territorial division in Ireland.

    As far as I know though, no Tudor cartographer ever included roads in their sixteenth-century maps, indicating that they weren't hugely important, or that they were very dangerous indeed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,301 ✭✭✭BrianD3


    Interesting to see the N3 and N2 named but marked with skinny yellow lines. Presumably the roads had been renamed but were awaiting upgrade.

    I see that the main road from Cavan to Dublin used to be the road through Finea and Castepollard. This is now a regional road and is very twisty and dangerous in places.


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  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 11,539 Mod ✭✭✭✭icdg


    The lack of a Naas Bypass would seem to put that map somewhere between 1977 and 1983. Although the lack of national secondary routes may suggest this may pre-date the finalisation of the system in 1977...

    Also interesting to note is this is the only map I have ever seen with Northern Ireland T-road numbers on them - these are for internal NI government use only and have AFAIK never appeared on road signs in NI - here's a list...

    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/roads/typesandnumbers.html

    Back to the south and the biggest changes between the new and and only networks were the N3, N8, and N9 all of which were major departures from the old network. The primary route between Dublin and Cavan was obviously intended to have been via Mullingar which seems like the long way around.


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