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M2 - Dublin to the Border: Would it be a waste of money?

  • 26-08-2010 9:30am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 Amtmann


    Following on from the discussion in this thread, where it has been claimed that
    Unfortunately gold-plating of projects is not unusual. In the ESRI Mid-Term Evaluation of NDP 2000-2006 we pointed out that “roads with capacity of 55,500 AADT, or anywhere near it, appear to be a significant overdesign for the numerous lightly-trafficked sections of the N8 and N9″. Such schemes cannot pass a reasonable cost-benefit analysis when compared to more appropriately sized schemes. Unfortunately, the lesson does not seem to have been learned and the tax payer is expected to pay for overdesign again (the fact that some of the schemes are PPPs is irrelevant here as these also have to be paid for by tax payers).

    Take the example of the N2, for which there are two proposed schemes in the system. I have already referred to the idiotic scheme to by-pass Slane where the key issue could be simply dealt with via a HGV ban.

    The second scheme is in North Monaghan, where a by-pass of Monaghan and Emyvale to dual carriageway standard is being pursued. Interestingly Monaghan has already been by-passed and anyone who knows the road also knows that there is no danger of congestion except through Emyvale (for which a by-pass is likely to be supported by some analysis). Traffic counts bear this out - average total volumes (north and southbound) for 2010 amount to 5,413 AADT. Why then are we building for 35,000 AADT - almost seven times the current volume? Further south, the section between Castleblaney and Clontibret has been upgraded to 2+1, and further south still between the M1 and Castleblaney a wide 2 lane road is perfectly sufficient to achieve the target level of service (80km/h) - both of these sections of road carry a higher level of traffic than that, which is supposed to be upgraded to dual-carriageway standard.

    The construction costs of a dual carriageway are 82% higher (according to the NRA Road Needs Study) than for a wide 2 lane road - can we really afford such goldplated schemes? (Link)

    My question is this: Is he right? There is no doubt that certain towns along the current N2 need to be bypassed; but why not bypass them with single carriageway and route the interurban Dublin-NW/Derry traffic along a connecting motorway spur to the M1?

    We have seen that there are still many N roads around the country with awful alignments. The N72/N73 for instance has been the focus of some discussion here recently. By not building a new interurban shadowing the current N2 all the way from Ashbourne to the border, and instead constructing an entirely new alignment to bring Derry to Dublin via the M1, would we not still have money left over to provide an adequate bypass of Slane et al, plus some more funds to target notorious stretches of N road around the country and perhaps remove some serious bends?

    What would you like to see happen to the Dublin-Derry route? 64 votes

    A Dublin-Derry motorway isn't necessary
    0% 0 votes
    A Dublin-Derry motorway is necessary, and should follow the current N2 alignment
    9% 6 votes
    A Dublin-Derry motorway is necessary, but should be routed via the M1
    20% 13 votes
    Some improvements to the N2, including bypasses, will do the job quite nicely
    46% 30 votes
    Indifferent...
    23% 15 votes


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭ Jayuu


    I'm voting indifferent because my favoured option which is to extend the M3 to Cavan and then to the border at Monaghan isn't there. :D

    I've discussed this on other threads. I think such a road would give better usage for the M3 and also would create a different access route into Dublin for north-west/northern traffic. I really don't like the idea of pushing everything onto the M1 via a spur and I don't think there is any justification for building an entirely new D2C N2 (or M2).


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,081 ✭✭✭ celticbest


    No major interurban road is a waste of money.

    If this road was ever to be built it would link Dublin to Derry. If it was carried on, on the farside of the border, this road would also be of major benefit to people in Donegal as it has long been talked about inproving the road to Dual Carriageway between Letterkenny & Derry.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,161 Ren2k7


    Jayuu wrote: »
    I'm voting indifferent because my favoured option which is to extend the M3 to Cavan and then to the border at Monaghan isn't there. :D

    I've discussed this on other threads. I think such a road would give better usage for the M3 and also would create a different access route into Dublin for north-west/northern traffic. I really don't like the idea of pushing everything onto the M1 via a spur and I don't think there is any justification for building an entirely new D2C N2 (or M2).

    Routing traffic via cavan from the border would increase the journey from derry to dublin by miles.

    A more sensible and direct route would be to build the m2 from the border at the proposed a5 dual carriageway to south of ardee. From here build a free flowing interchange similar to the m4/m6 interchange with the m1. From there traffic would make its way to dublin.

    The existing n2/m2 south of ardee would then be redesignated to a different n route number. I think the n34 is free but im not 100% sure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 368 ✭✭ Empire o de Sun


    Maybe build the N2 with provision for a second carriageway to be added in the future and then give it motorway status. They do that in Germany, on important routes that don't have the volumes to justify a full motorway. So in twenty or thirty years when traffic levels justify it, a second carriageway can be easily added, as the land was already acquired during the original build and all bridges can already facilitate the second carriageway, with the exception of a few major bridges (West Link was only one bridge originally)

    here is the A8 in Germany, you can see the extra wide bridge for the second carriageway. A1 to A9 are the Backbone of the Autobahn network in Germany

    http://maps.google.de/?ie=UTF8&ll=49.467106,6.450434&spn=0.001872,0.005681&t=k&z=18


  • Registered Users Posts: 596 ✭✭✭ Jayuu


    Ren2k7 wrote: »
    Routing traffic via cavan from the border would increase the journey from derry to dublin by miles.

    Increase by miles maybe but not time. Anyway I know I'm ploughing a lonely furrow on this idea so lets not spend too much time on it. It's never going to happen. :)

    I suppose the next most realistic option is to connect to the M1 via Ardee. However I suspect that this wouldn't solve the problems of heavy goods vehicles avoiding the M1 toll and continuing to go through the other towns on the N2.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,036 ✭✭✭ veryangryman


    Jayuu wrote: »
    Increase by miles maybe but not time. Anyway I know I'm ploughing a lonely furrow on this idea so lets not spend too much time on it. It's never going to happen. :)

    I suppose the next most realistic option is to connect to the M1 via Ardee. However I suspect that this wouldn't solve the problems of heavy goods vehicles avoiding the M1 toll and continuing to go through the other towns on the N2.

    S2 Slane bypass still a must regardless (my vote was to use M1-N33). Just dont build any other bypasses and they wont see so much toll dodging. Job done


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,831 ✭✭✭ SeanW


    Why not? M2-Derry sounds like a not too shabby idea. But it would be more efficient to redesignate the Ardee link as N2 and detrunk the N2 South of there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,161 Ren2k7


    Another option would be to build the entire existing route to motorway standard but put tolls at intervals a la the M3. That would stop the toll dodgers. Also would give slane and ardee proper bypasses.

    I'd imagine the cost of this however would be giving department of finance officials heart problems so I wouldn't be banking on this option being likely, especially in today's economic climate.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,090 ✭✭✭ marmurr1916


    Build a motorway-standard road from the border to Ardee and upgrade the N33.

    Either that or upgrade the N53 (rerouted to avoid crossing the border), and improve the N2 from the border to south of Castleblayney.

    Slane needs a bypass, which could be tolled (combined with a ban on HGVs through the village after its completed) at the same rates as the M1 toll.

    Either that or a toll somewhere along an improved N2 between Dublin and Collon to make M1 toll-dodging pointless.

    IMO, 2+2 from Ashbourne to Ardee/Castleblayney (with future-proofing of bridges to HQDC/motorway width), combined with motorway/HQDC from Ardee/C'blayney, would be enough for this route.

    Why 2+2? Because it's not much more expensive than Wide Single-Carriageway and would provide a degree of future-proofing.

    An Taisce's objections are based on the assumption that traffic levels will continue to fall, rather than fall temporarily, and also on a lack of foresight.

    Future-proofing of infrastructure pays dividends in the long-term - upgrade roads now and we won't have to upgrade them in the future.

    The current recession means cheaper land prices, cheaper labour and materials.

    We should be taking advantage of this now, instead of waiting to build roads when the economy is booming and we have to pay crazy costs for all of these again.

    And what Keynes said!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 611 T Corolla


    The M2 is not required. There are other threads giving out about building the M9 which was needed as the old N9 was very dangerous. The need to connect Ardee with Kells with a major upgrade of the N52. This would serve both traffic on the M3 and N52. The N52 is a route that needs upgrading in a big way. The cost of building the M2 would be collosial because of the land terrain.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,162 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    Building the M2 from Ashbourne to the border is a crazy idea. There is little more than 30km between the M1 at Dunleer and the M3 at Kells a less closer to Dublin. Why on earth would we want to build another motorway in the space in between? It would be a gross waste of funds and all three roads would be under-utilised. Just build 2+2 from the border to Ardee and then onto the M1 with a free flow junction. Makes a lot more sense than shoehorning a other motorway between two motorways which have to capacity for more traffic.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 430 ✭✭ Steviemak


    Driving to Derry now you would be as quick using the M1 through Belfast and out the M2. Did it this summer before the Newry bypass opened in 2hr 50mins.

    Only the last 40 miles is single carriageway (plenty of overtaking lanes) and you only go through one town (Dungiven).

    This wouldn't however be any good for Letterkenny but the cresent link in Derry can get you over to the Inishowen peninsula with little fuss.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 611 T Corolla


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    Building the M2 from Ashbourne to the border is a crazy idea. There is little more than 30km between the M1 at Dunleer and the M3 at Kells a less closer to Dublin. Why on earth would we want to build another motorway in the space in between? It would be a gross waste of funds and all three roads would be under-utilised. Just build 2+2 from the border to Ardee and then onto the M1 with a free flow junction. Makes a lot more sense than shoehorning a other motorway between two motorways which have to capacity for more traffic.

    I would favor Ardee to Kells as the road from Ardee to M1 (N33) is pretty good condition. The N52 has traffic volumes high enough to warrant a decent single carriageway with hard shoulders


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,162 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    T Corolla wrote: »
    I would favor Ardee to Kells as the road from Ardee to M1 (N33) is pretty good condition. The N52 has traffic volumes high enough to warrant a decent single carriageway with hard shoulders

    Its not about improving the N33 or N52, we are talking about a motorway to Derry. The best route of it is to be built as a spur off the M1 near Ardee. I only mention the N33 because this is the road between the M1 and Ardee. If the Derry motorway was to be built from the M1 a new free flow junction would be built and the N33 would probably be reclassified as a national secondary route or even a regional road. The N52 has nothing to do with it and will be upgraded as the NRA see fit.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,464 furtzy


    Bypassing Slane is completely necessary and should be a number 1 priority. Couple that with a bypass of Ardee and the upgrade of the Monaghan to Emyvale road and that would suffice.....and of course the immediate removal of those ridiculous lights before Kilmoon cross :D


    These lights were put in place at the request of Caffrey transport to let their trucks onto the N2...ridiculous...Thanks concillor Bonner

    The northern section on to Derry isn't that bad plus considering how long it took them to upgrade the Ballygawley approach from Aughnacloy it would take 50 years to complete the road to Derry


  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ djdeclan


    I feel a lot of people are missing an obvious route here. I live in Dublin and travel home to Inishowen regularly; I have found the fastest route to be via Newry, Armagh and Aughnacloy. The proposed A5 will run from the edge of Derry to Aughnacloy. We currently have the following motorway options:

    M1 - Runs to the edge of Newry (I'm including the Newry bypass) distance* to the end of the A5 scheme: 32 Miles
    M2 - Runs to Ashbourne, distance to the end of the A5 scheme:73 Miles
    M3 - Runs to Carnaross, distance to the end of the A5 scheme: 67 miles (via Cavan & Monaghan as has been suggested)

    *Distances are based on current road alignments, a new alignment could reduce the distance somewhat, especially in the case of the M3.

    Is it not therefore fairly obvious which road should be upgraded in order to provide the shortest possible journey time between Dublin and Derry/North Donegal?

    The only problem I can forsee is that the road in question is entirely in Norn Iron and would potentially be a political no-no based on recent comments from a DUP MLA critisising the A5 for destroying protestant farms to link (the predominantly nationalist) Derry and the (evil) south of Ireland.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,319 Mod ✭✭✭✭ spacetweek


    The construction costs of a dual carriageway are 82% higher (according to the NRA Road Needs Study) than for a wide 2 lane road - can we really afford such goldplated schemes?
    That just doesn't sound right. I'd say that 82% figure is from back when specs were different. If 82 is correct then why has the NRA said that all WSC schemes are going to be duallers? I thought the reason was that it was found that there was only a small cost difference between them.
    Jayuu wrote: »
    Increase by miles maybe but not time. Anyway I know I'm ploughing a lonely furrow on this idea so lets not spend too much time on it. It's never going to happen. :)
    You've got me thinking here, with your M3 idea. The M3 leads nowhere in particular and is under-utilised. Maybe it should be the Dublin-Derry route after all.
    I would peel off from Navan though and head directly north to Carrickmacross. We'd still need 2+2 all the way to the border, but there are many upgraded stretches north of there. We'd also still need the Slane and Ardee bypasses, but these are only minor schemes.

    I voted for M2 via N33/M1, but I really think the N2 should be left alone south of Slane. Dual all the way to Ashbourne would result in far too much route duplication.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,319 Mod ✭✭✭✭ spacetweek


    djdeclan wrote: »
    The only problem I can forsee is that the road in question is entirely in Norn Iron and would potentially be a political no-no based on recent comments from a DUP MLA critisising the A5 for destroying protestant farms to link (the predominantly nationalist) Derry and the (evil) south of Ireland.
    Also a good idea, but the fact that it's entirely within NI is a *big* problem. They've little enough money for upgrades and are also obsessed with making everything a low-standard road. It would just be a singler if they were let design it and would take 20 years to build.

    By creating the route on our side of the border, we maintain control over design, cost, timetable etc. The road could run from Dundalk-Castleblayney (N53 upgrade), but this would be more work than using the N33.


  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ djdeclan


    spacetweek wrote: »
    Also a good idea, but the fact that it's entirely within NI is a *big* problem. They've little enough money for upgrades and are also obsessed with making everything a low-standard road. It would just be a singler if they were let design it and would take 20 years to build.

    By creating the route on our side of the border, we maintain control over design, cost, timetable etc. The road could run from Dundalk-Castleblayney (N53 upgrade), but this would be more work than using the N33.

    Would it be popssible, and this is really thinking outside the box, for the Irish government to provide a large amount of the funding for the upgrade and also take an active role in running the project? Surely spending €100m out of a total of €150m on a project that is entirely in the North would be more economical than spending €300m (figures purely made up for the purposes of this discussion) on a project based in the South that achieves the same objective?

    Am I right in saying that the Irish govt have committed to funding part of the A5 upgrade?

    Also, a substantial part of the route from Dundalk to Castleblayney is in the North so a similar, if smaller scale, issue exists there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,162 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    spacetweek wrote: »
    You've got me thinking here, with your M3 idea. The M3 leads nowhere in particular and is under-utilised. Maybe it should be the Dublin-Derry route after all.
    I would peel off from Navan though and head directly north to Carrickmacross. We'd still need 2+2 all the way to the border, but there are many upgraded stretches north of there. We'd also still need the Slane and Ardee bypasses, but these are only minor schemes.

    I agree with you that the M3 currently leads nowhere (even though Im from Cavan) but taking it to Carrickmacross is making the journey to Derry a lot longer than it needs to be. Also the geography between the end of the M3 and Monaghan town doesnt lend itself to road building. The road would have to go straight through drumlins and by Bailieborough, the second highest town in Ireland and there are a lot of lakes further north around Shercock which would have to be negotiated. Bringing the M2 to the M1 at Adree would be much easier and cheaper.

    As I said before on another thread I think a better option for the M3 would be to extend it as 2+2 via Carrick-on-Shannon to Sligo and making the M3 the main route to the north west/border region. The N4 west of Sligo would then become a Regional road. If you draw a line straight from Dublin to Sligo the M3 is a better fit than the existing Sligo road and then M3 has the capacity to carry the extra traffic. Building one road to serve the Cavan/Leitrim/Sligo region is more cost effective than having two roads and gives better quality road coverage of the country with less km of road. Plus with a combined population of over 150,000 in the tree counties there is a stronger case for extending the M3 so that it might actually happen in the next 10-15 years. As there is very little chance anything will be done with either the N3 or N4 because neither has the level of traffic to justify upgrading, it makes sense to combine the two.


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