Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar TD today welcomed the official opening of the N22/N69 Tralee Bypass. The new scheme is 13.5km in length and consists of dual and single carriageway sections. Work began on the scheme in 2011 and the budget was €97m.
Speaking today, Minister Varadkar said: “I am very pleased to see the official opening of the new N22/N69 Tralee Bypass. I recall visiting Tralee on a very wet day in August 2011 to turn the sod on this scheme. In economically straightened times when our national roads investment programme has had to be significantly scaled back, I am very pleased that this scheme has come to fruition.”
A key benefit of the N22/N60 scheme is the improvement of access to Tralee Town whilst removing bypassing national traffic from the centre. It has been predicted that the reduction will bring significant safety benefits to motorists and vulnerable road users alike with a 14% reduction in accidents. Road users will see an average end-to-end reduction in journey times of 73%, in comparison with the previous route. In practical terms, this means shaving approximately 12 minutes off journey times for ‘through’ traffic in Tralee at peak times
Minister Varadkar continued: “Separating local traffic from through traffic has been among the principal benefits of the development of the national roads network for the past number of years. Removing bottlenecks in our towns and cities not only brings benefits in terms of safety and journey times, it also reaps benefits for our economy. For example, by improving efficiency in goods movement, lowering overheads as a result of time saved and providing a welcome extra boost to competitiveness.”
Minister Varadkar concluded: “In the year of The Gathering, this new Bypass will also play a key role in improving access to the major tourist attractions associated with County Kerry. Efficiencies in our road networks not only enhance access to attractions such as the Ring of Kerry and Dingle but they can also positively impact on visitor’s experience of Ireland. Already this year, the CSO has reported a 5.4% increase in overseas visitors to Ireland in the first six months of 2013. Hopefully this trend will continue and this new road will help to make Kerry’s attractions more popular than ever.”
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Press Office. Tel: (01) 604 1087 / (01) 604 1090.
Notes for Editors:
The N22/N69 road scheme consists of two sections;
• Tralee Bypass section (8km of Type 2 Dual Carriageway)
• Tralee to Bealagrellagh section (5.5km of single carriageway).
• There are 5 main structures, 5 roundabouts, several culverts and accommodation underpasses and approximately 4km of side roads.
• Scheme budget was €97 million and BAM Civil Limited was the contractor.
In addition to bypassing Tralee, the scheme provides alternative access for N22 traffic from Cork and a full high quality linkage between the N21, N22, N69 and N70 National routes and improved access to the N86.
The bypass section includes a dedicated combined pedestrian/cycleway along the western verge over the full length of the Bypass.
Public funding for Ireland’s national roads has fallen radically since reaching a peak of €1.75 billion back in 2007. Investment in transport infrastructure, including the national roads improvement programme, has been scaled back significantly under the Government’s capital investment plan “Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016” and it is within this context that funding for various schemes would have to be considered by the NRA, whilst having regard for the many competing demands for these resources.
The Tralee bypass is one of a very limited number of improvement projects that have gone to construction in recent years. No new major Exchequer funded development projects are scheduled to start construction in the short term. Under the Government’s July 2012 stimulus package three further PPP projects (Gort to Tuam, the New Ross Bypass and the Gorey to Enniscorthy schemes) will be progressed.