A TOTAL of 294km of national roads gained motorway status today.
Transport minister, Noel Dempsey signed the official orders changing the status of the existing dual carraigeways earlier this year.
The relevant sections of road being declared as motorways out of Limerick are the N7 Dublin to Limerick, Limerick Southern Ring Road (Phase 1) (open to traffic) 8.5 km. The N7/N20 Rossbrien Interchange (under construction) 1.5 km.
The N18 Oranmore to Limerick, Shannon to Ennis (open to traffic) 8.3 km.
Ennis Bypass (open to traffic) 12.5 km, Gort to Crusheen (under construction) 22 km and the Oranmore to Gort (in planning) 28 km.
The N20 Cork to Limerick, Limerick to Attyflin (N20/N21 Junction) (open to traffic) 5 km.
Speaking about the move Minister Dempsey commented “The purpose of this move to re-designate 294km of national roads as motorways is to enhance and protect the national motorway network, the primary function of which is to allow people, goods and services to travel safely and efficiently throughout the country.”
The speed of 120 kph will apply to all newly declared motorway sections unless special speed limits are in operation.
Certain categories of road users are prohibited from using motorways and include learner drivers, vehicles not exceeding 50 cc in engine capacity, vehicles not capable of a speed of 50 kph, pedestrians, and pedal cyclists.
Over the past 12 months, a total of 560 kms have been declared motorways. With the completion of all the Major Inter-Urban routes by the end of 2010, nearly 900kms of road at motorway standard will be open to traffic.