"One of country's worst bottlenecks removed..."
Transport Minister, Martin Cullen, T.D. travelled to Cork today (Monday, 2nd October 2006) where he officially opened the M8 Rathcormac / Fermoy Bypass. Completed eight months ahead of schedule, the Bypass will remove some 17,000 vehicles each day away from Fermoy town centre and will shave up to 30 minutes on journey times at peak times.
The Bypass provides motorists with 33km of continuous motorway / high quality dual carriageway from the Dunkettle roundabout outside Cork City to north of Fermoy. "This new Bypass will make a major difference to everyone who uses the Dublin to Cork Route and will change the transport experience in a positive way for thousands of people every day", stated the Minister.
The Bypass is the third of the new wave of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to be completed. The M4 Kilcock / Kinnegad Motorway and the Dundalk Western Bypass were opened last year. Each one of these projects shows the value of PPPs in the efficient delivery of top quality road infrastructure. Overall, the NRA estimates that private investment committed to national road PPP projects amounts to approximately €1bn to date and that it will amount to approximately €2bn over the period to 2010. This is a significant addition to Exchequer funding and will enable projects to be advanced quicker than otherwise might be the case. Better value for money can be achieved for certain projects through private sector expertise and flexibility.
Speaking at the official opening today, Minister Cullen said: "The Rathcormac / Fermoy Bypass is another major step in the upgrading of the major inter-urban road corridors under our Transport 21 programme. This is part of an increasing trend for the delivery of major infrastructure projects on or ahead of time and within budget. This Government is committed to implementing ambitious projects with greater effectiveness and with an emphasis on speedy delivery. All due credit must go to the NRA, Cork County Council and Direct Route (Fermoy) Ltd. for making this happen.
"The new Bypass will be of great benefit to the people and businesses in the localities of Rathcormac and Fermoy and their environs. The significant reduction of through traffic in both towns will also have a beneficial impact on the quality of life for many people, who will be able to go about their daily business in a more efficient way. Improved access will encourage industrial, tourist and commercial activity in the locality, and the improvement of journey times between Cork and Dublin will have positive implications for the overall regional development."
Over the past ten years, the Government has delivered significant infrastructural enhancement, in both roads and public transport, which will maintain and strengthen the economic basis of the country. Work on the upgrading of the major inter-urban routes is complete or underway on nearly 50% of these routes. The balance is well advanced in planning. The removal of bottlenecks at, for example, the towns of Kildare, Monasterevin, Cashel, Limerick, Nenagh, Drogheda, Dundalk, and from today, now at Fermoy, means that the national roads programme is delivering substantial journey time savings to road users.
Minister Cullen called on all road users to drive with care and courtesy for others using the roads. "Again, this weekend, a number of people lost their lives on our roads. Many families and friends are grieving today for their loved ones. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the gardai in enforcing the law and the changing mindset of many drivers. It is up to each one of us to ensure that we act responsibly and obey the law not just for a day, a week, or a month but every day, every week, every month. By doing this, we are making our roads safer", he said.
Minister Cullen thanked all involved in getting the Rathcormac / Fermoy Bypass completed and he wished safe driving to all who travel on it.
Mr. Peter Malone, "Chairman of the National Roads Authority said: We are well on the pace to achieving the goals set out in Transport 21 to connect Dublin and Cork via safe and modern road infrastructure. The N8 Rathcormac-Fermoy project brings much needed relief to the towns of Rathcormac and Fermoy by removing approximately 17,000 heavy good vehicles and cars from the town centres. I have seen first hand throughout the country the benefits of giving back to the residents their town centre. It affords tourists and business alike the opportunity to re-establish themselves directly within the heart of the community. It should be noted that this project was a Public Private Partnership project. It is these partnerships that bring private investment to public projects thus limiting the public financial risk and allowing for the projects to be delivered well ahead of the national planning schedule. So combined with other projects along the N8 like; the M7/M8 Portlaoise to Cullahill By-Pass, the N8/M8 Cullahill/Cashel Project, and the N8 Cashel By-pass Project we are closer to achieving our goal of connecting Dublin and Cork by 2010."
Michelle Hoctor - 087 8563070
Veronica Scanlan - 087 6430622