A €215 million upgrade of one of the country’s busiest interchanges that’s been “10 years in the making” has officially opened today.
And the upgrade to the Dunkettle Interchange on the outskirts of Cork city is already delivering a major boost for thousands of motorists.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said the road improvement has brought about a 50 per cent reduction in journey times during peak hours.
Tanaiste Micheal Martin officially opened the upgrade scheme today – marking a significant milestone in enhancing transportation infrastructure and connectivity for the county.
The €215m project aims to alleviate congestion, improve safety, and streamline traffic flow for the region’s residents and businesses.
Speaking at the opening, the Fianna Fail leader said he believes it will be a catalyst for economic and social activity across Cork and the Munster region.
He said: “This infrastructure project represents a significant investment in Cork’s future and provides a vital link in the region’s transport network.
“I believe that it will be a catalyst for enhancing economic and social activity right across Cork and the entire Munster region.”
The Interchange is the junction of four national roads, the M8 Cork – Dublin Motorway, the N25 Cork – Waterford / Rosslare route, the N40 Cork South Ring Road and the N8 Dunkettle – Cork city National Route.
It is located approximately 5 kilometres east of Cork city centre.
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Traffic volumes through the interchange are at an all-time high, approaching 120,000 vehicles on busy days.
However, despite the high levels of drivers on the road at peak hours, journey times have been slash due to the project.
Journey time savings of almost 60 per cent are being achieved on the N40 to N25 route during peak hours, whilst time savings of over 50 per cent are being achieved on routes accessed via the M8 Southbound.
TII chief Peter Walsh said: “The Dunkettle Project completion marks the culmination of a journey that has been 10 years in the making.
“It was delivered through innovation and commitment by the entire project team and with the support and patience of the public.”
The project has delivered 18 new road links totalling 10km in length; seven new bridge structures as well as upgrade works carried out on five pre-existing structures; and upgrades and resurfacing works to the N25 road between Tivoli Roundabout and the Little Island Interchange.
In addition, 2.9km of new walkways and cycleways have been developed including the provision of a new bridge across the Cork-Midleton railway line.
Lord Mayor of Cork Kieran McCarthy said: “The new Interchange stands as an important additional piece in the strategic transport infrastructure in metropolitan Cork.
“This year marks 25 years since the Jack Lynch Tunnel opened, which in its day was seen as an engineering feat. The new interchange is also an engineering feat and adds to the adjacent tunnel’s story and narratives.
“In our time, the removal of critical bottlenecks creates better traffic flows but also greater connectivity between communities on either side of the River Lee’s estuary.
“The enhanced connectivity facilitated by this project will undoubtedly fuel progress and opportunity for generations to come.”
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The contract for the Dunkettle Interchange Upgrade Scheme includes a three-year maintenance period which will run until 2027.
In addition to environmental monitoring and landscaping management, this will also include an ongoing focus on monitoring traffic flows through the network.