Ahead of time, and on budget, the M6 opens tomorrow morning

The final section of the M6 Galway to Dublin motorway will open tomorrow, linking the east and west coast on budget, and four months ahead of schedule.

The 194 kilometre stretch of seamless tarmac indulgence will be officially opened tomorrow at 11am by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey. It is expected that the first motorists to travel on the road will be able to do so from 2pm.

The much anticipated motorway will allow motorists to bypass bottlenecks such as Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Craughwell, and Oranmore.

With a speed limit of 120km/hr, journey times to the capital will plummet to two hours.

The final 56 kilometre stretch starting at Doughiska and connecting to the existing motorway at Ballinasloe, will include a toll booth at Cappataggle. The cost of cars passing through the toll will be €1.90, bringing the total cost of a one way trip along the motorway to €3.80. Additional tolls at Maynooth and at the Westlink bridge could push the cost of a trip from Galway to Dublin airport up to nearer €14.

The toll is expected to bring 120 new jobs to the area, with 60 full-time daily operations staff, and an additional 60 contract jobs for external support.

Minister Dempsey is expected to comment on how a major milestone has been reached for residents and businesses throughout the Galway and Ballinasloe region, offering significant benefits for the entire western region.

The uneven, potholed, and poor surfaced backroads of the midlands will become a distant memory for most, but unfortunately due to toll road restrictions pedestrians, cyclists, and those in control of animals will be unable to travel the super modern road. There will also be no chance to stop along what is Ireland’s answer to route 66.

The 194km stretch of beautiful smooth tarmac does not allow for pitstops or rest breaks. It is a non-stop, unserviced, route with no shops, restaurants, or petrol stations. One service stop has bee planned for the route, but it is not due to open until late next year.

Trips to the capital will now have to be as well organised as the road itself, ensuring every vehicle has enough fuel to last the journey.

With the possible onslaught of empty petrol tanks and distraught motorists, those who find themselves in need of assistance can avail of breakdown services by using one of the SOS freephones dotted every 1.5km along the route.

Commenting on the opening of the €427 motorway Peter Malone, chairman of the National Roads Authority, said: “The opening of the M6 Galway to Ballinasloe motorway is an historic event because this is the first major inter-urban corridor connecting city to city. From Galway to Dublin we now have motorway/dual carriageway for 194km.”

Malone continued saying: “The benefits from a road safety standpoint and improved quality of life will be felt by all the residents of the cities, towns, and villages along the entire route. It is great to see first hand this Government’s plan to invest and improve road infrastructure, under Transport 21, come to fruition. Just think, you will now be able to travel from the M50 to Galway city in just over two hours. It is fantastic for business, tourism, and all roads users.”

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