It’s not often these days that Taoiseach Brian Cowen gets to deliver good news, so when he was invited to open the new stretch of the N6 motorway from Athlone to Ballinasloe next week, he graciously accepted.
Deputy Mary O’Rourke confirmed yesterday that the Taoiseach will be performing the official opening of the 19km stretch of road at 11am next Thursday July 23, in the company of local dignitaries, representatives of the NRA, and members of the public.
It is expected that, once open, the newly completed stretch of road will cut up to six minutes off journey time for motorists travelling between the towns, while the time savings will be even greater when the stretch is upgraded to motorway status from August 28 this year.
Until that date, however, the 19.4 kilometres of new road between Tulrush to the east of Ballinasloe and the western end of the Athlone relief road at Monksland will remain a dual carriageway, with a speed limit of 100kph.
The final stretch of N6 motorway, from Ballinasloe to Galway, is scheduled for completion in early 2010. This 51km section of the N6 will complete the Dublin to Galway route, allowing motorists to travel from east to west of the country on almost continuous motorway.