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Cullen turns sod on 59 kms M3 national road project
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30 April 2007

Transport Minister, Martin Cullen, TD today (Monday, 30 April 2007) turned the sod on the M3 Clonee to North of Kells national road project.  The project is being funded through private finance, the Government's investment programme Transport 21 and the National Development Plan. With a route length, including connecting roads of 59 kms, it is the longest stretch of new road to go to construction in the State to date.   The main contractors working on the project are the Eurolink Consortium (CINTRA, SA and SIAC) and the main engineers are M3 MeathConsult.  The project is due to be completed in summer 2010.

The scheme will bypass the towns of Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin, Navan, Tara, Kells and other smaller communities in the area.

Speaking at the sod turning ceremony, Minister Cullen said: "Once completed, this road project will aid the competitiveness and efficiencies in the economy of county Meath and other counties served by the N3/M3 route, particularly through reduced transport costs and improved journey time predictability.  The quality of life of the thousands of people who use the route and those living along or near it, will be enhanced through an improvement in road safety, air quality, and journey times. Significant reductions in travel times will be delivered along the route for commuters and business people travelling into and out of Dublin."

This major investment in the physical infrastructure of the region forms part of a series of other road projects also under the Government's investment programme Transport 21, some of which are already underway or in planning, including the Virginia Bypass, the Belturbet Bypass and Ballyshannon to the border.  When completed, these projects will link together to provide a high quality route between Dublin and the Border as well as south Donegal and Leitrim.

Mr Peter Malone, Chairman of the NRA said: "Today is hugely significant in road building terms with work starting on the longest road contract to go to construction in the history of the State.  At almost 60 kms in length, the M3 Clonee to Kells scheme is indicative of the magnitude of the current national roads programme and the significant contribution the Public Private Partnership element is delivering.  This project will open up the Northwest by improving access from Dublin to Donegal resulting in greater commercial and tourism opportunities.  The pace at which the roads programme is being rolled out is set to continue with construction to start in three days time on the second largest road project to date the N6, Galway to Ballinasloe."

Issued by, Veronica Scanlan, 087 6430622