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Revisiting Motorways and pointless secondary N roads, and all in between

  • 17-08-2021 11:12am
    Registered Users Posts: 20

    So, it's lockdown. There is nothing to talk about on the roads section of Boards. Except for all the N5 schemes and the new Dunkettle Interchange.

    So as I looked at old threads from 2012/2013, I wondered if all us roadgeeks could have a place to ruminate over pointless secondary N roads, share ideas of motorway proposals and complain about bad roads that need to be bypassed pronto.

    And this is meant to be that place. Come on in, and have a nice cup of infrastructure!


  • Registered Users Posts: 20 cheerylemon

    So I'm going to start off with a proposal. Remember when they said they'd extend the M20 to Cork? Well they didn't. But here's my take on the yet-to-be-born M20 Patrickswell to Cork scheme.

    These are hand drawn strip maps of the scheme:


    - In this case, the N73 is downgraded to R661.

    -The M20 will go online from the Blarney business park to the junction. The current N20 will be rerouted over the motorway, meeting the R617 at the junction.

    - As you might observe in the maps, some roads that historically terminate at the N20 will now terminate at the M20.

    - The M21 is mentioned in the scheme. There is going to be a short spur of the M21, this will form the basis of what I call the Southwest Strategic Motorway Plan(SWSMP).

  • Registered Users Posts: 943 ✭✭✭riddlinrussell

    I think the death knell of new motorway projects is going to come sooner than you think... if its not already in the pipeline I think there's a fairly good chance it never will be.

    Already seeing some countries say they won't be planning any more motorways. With the M20/M28 built I don't think they can really justify more places, it will be safety improvements only for the most part.

    (Sorry to put a downer on your thread 😓)

  • Registered Users Posts: 20 cheerylemon

    Ah it’s ok, anything goes. Even if it is the case, they could just realign the bad bits of N20 and downgrade the N73.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 14,297 Mod ✭✭✭✭marno21

    Any links to some of these other countries? Apart from Wales I haven't seen any myself so would be interested to read up on it. Wales' policy being a bit short sighted due to their shocking connectivity (especially north south), and the massive bottlenecks on the east west routes (A494 in Flintshire, Britannia Bridge, M4 Newport at the Brynglas tunnels)

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,870 Mod ✭✭✭✭spacetweek

    If the green transition means no new motorways then people are not understanding what's required for the green transition to be completed.

    It doesn't mean you can't have motorways and politicians who pursue this will be punished at the polls.

    Decarbonise road construction and road vehicle use and that just leaves severance and noise which can be mitigated.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 20 cheerylemon

    Yes, and by the time they make roads green they will have eschewed motorways.

    So we might never see any new motorways. And the TDs that want them will probably lose massively at the next general election. :mad:

  • Registered Users Posts: 221 ✭✭specialbyte

    We don't need to cancel all motorway projects to hit our climate targets. What is true is that investing only roads will not help us hit our climate targets.

    The main policy for reductions in transport emissions is: avoid, shift and improve. Avoid travel where possible. Shift to more sustainable modes (walking, cycling, public transport). Then lastly improve vehicles to reduce or eliminate emissions (improve fuel efficiencies, hybrids, electrification or hydrogen). The problem with Irish transport policy up to now is that it has catered very well for the private motor car, which is unsustainable, even if using e-cars.

    Our public transport infrastructure is extremely poor in urban areas, rural areas and for inter-urban journeys. We haven't delivered major public transport infrastructure projects (DART Underground, MetroNorth, MetroWest) but did deliver large parts of the inter-urban motorway network in the 2000s. Our active travel spend (walking and cycling) has been historically low at 1-2%, which has now been bumped up to 10% by the Greens. There's talk about the remaining transport spend shifting to be 2:1 in favour of public transport over new roads projects.

    The investment is rebalancing away from roads investment towards other types of projects. As a result, there is a big need to re-evaluate our road spending priorities to ensure that the road projects that will be funded from the much smaller pot of money are the most valuable projects that don't undermine our climate targets. Different road projects have different purposes. A few examples are useful here.

    • N4 - Collooney to Castlebaldwin is about improving regional connectivity and removing one of the most hazardous sections of national road.
    • M28 - Cork to Ringaskiddy is about providing heavy good access to the port at Ringaskiddy by connecting it to the national road network with a high quality road
    • N3 - Virginia Bypass is about bypassing a major town to remove heavy traffic and improve quality of life in the town
    • N24 - Cahir to Waterford is about inter-urban journey times but includes really important components like bypassing Tipperary Town, which is so badly needed

    I don't think many of those projects above are in much danger of being cancelled or deferred.

    There are other projects, which are purely about increasing car capacity in urban areas, for example:

    • M4 - Maynooth to Leixlip
    • N3 - Clonee to M50
    • M11/N11 - M50 (J4) to Coyne's Cross (J14)
    • M6 - Galway City Ring Road

    These are the projects that are in real danger of being cancelled because of climate policy.

    The M20 between Limerick and Cork is one of the few projects that I'm not sure what category it falls into. On the one hand it will replace some super dangerous sections of road and bypass a number of towns and villages along the route. It will however, also facilitate unsustainable long distance car commuting into Cork and Limerick. To avoid falling afoul of climate policy I suspect the M20 will need to include some level of demand management (tolling) from the outset to discourage long distance car commuting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20 cheerylemon

    Well I guess I was overreacting on the end of all motorways, but I agree with you. They will most likely add up the numbers and prioritise other schemes that help trade and sustainability, and can the projects that will really just make bottlenecks worse(via increasing traffic flow through motorway projects between commuter “hubs” throughout the East, South and Midlands) and help send Johnny Polar Bear to an early grave.

    As on the M20, if it were to go ahead, tolls would be 100% on the route. You can’t build nye on 200km of HQDC(i.e. motorway) without emptying the coffers.

    And finally, the money saved from canning unreasonably expensive projects can go towards people up the country, giving them better access to public transport and so on.

    God almighty, I may as well be Minister for Transport with all the above I’ve just typed out…

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 11,671 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cookiemunster

    The proposed M20 is 80km long. I've no idea where you getting 200km from.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,309 ✭✭✭KrisW1001

    .. and even if you canned the M20 project, you’d still need to pay for at least 30km of upgraded road along that route, just on safety grounds.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a congestion pricing scheme come along in Cork at some stage, but traditional spot-tolling is counter-productive, and would shunt heavier traffic off the roads that were built to support it, and back onto the main streets of towns and villages. TII is investigating Road Usage Pricing at present with an eye on a closed user trial on M50 in the next couple of years. Currently, the M50 toll is very unfair on a road that is predominantly local use: if you have to cross the Liffey, you end up paying for the maintenance of the entire road, while those who use only the Northern or Southern sectors without crossing the river never have to pay a cent.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 20 cheerylemon

    Ok, let me change that to about 80km. I can’t do distance between cities.