THE Limerick Tunnel is to open to the public on Saturday June 19. The tunnel took 4 years to construct at a cost of €500m, and the 10km stretch of road is the biggest engineering project ever undertaken in the region, comprising 11 bridges, 6 underpasses, 4 interchanges and a 900m tunnel.
Speaking about the completion of the tunnel, IBEC Mid-West and Kerry Regional Director, Chris O’Donovan said: “The opening of the Limerick Tunnel marks the completion of the largest engineering project ever undertaken in the region, and the business community looks forward to improved access to Shannon Airport and reduced travel times along the west coast that the tunnel will provide. We now need to focus on upgrading the roads between the Mid-West region and other major cities in Ireland, as well as improving access to our ports”.
Mr O’Donovan told the Limerick Post: “It is now appropriate for government to review its capital investment priorities or risk losing the momentum built up over the last number of years. Despite current economic conditions, the challenge of funding a capital investment programme is by no means insurmountable, and the urgent need for government to reduce public spending should not compromise Ireland’s future prosperity. Capital investment that supports economic development must therefore be fast tracked”.
“Government should build on its positive experience of delivering this project through PPPs, which generally offer superior value for money, reduce risks to the taxpayer, complete projects on time and within budget and ease the burden on exchequer expenditure,” concluded Mr O’Donovan.
The Special Olympics Torch blazed a trail in the newly built Limerick Tunnel earlier this week when five athletes carried the flame through the 675m-long passage.
It was the first time that non-construction personnel were allowed go through the tunnel.