CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Good morning to you all. I am delighted to be here today for the opening of this section of the M8 Fermoy/ Mitchelstown Road.
The project, which is 9 months ahead of the time allowed in the contract, and on budget, is another major milestone in the upgrading of our national road network. Together with the other completed projects on the N8 route, such as the Cashel to Mitchelstown and the Fermoy to Watergrasshill schemes, to name but two, this latest road opening will greatly benefit inter-urban and inter-regional traffic on the Cork to Dublin route.
Journey times and transport costs between Dublin and Cork have been further reduced with the completion of this scheme.
The scheme will be of immense benefit to the people and businesses of Mitchelstown and surrounding areas and will allow road users to plan journeys with greater certainty.
The scheme, which received Exchequer funding under the National Development Plan and T21, and also received European Ten-T funding, consists of 16 kms of dual carriageway/motorway and runs between Carrigane, north of Mitchelstown and Moorepark, north of Fermoy.
It is part of the M8 Dublin to Cork Major Interurban scheme identified in the National Development Plan and Transport 21.
Benefits of the Scheme
Over the years, journey times between Dublin and Cork have been reduced significantly with the elimination of bottlenecks such as Cashel, Cahir, Fermoy and Watergrasshill.
Completion of this project represents a further significant step towards the development of the entirety of the Dublin to Cork major interurban route to motorway and high quality dual carriageway standard, which is on target for completion by the end of next year.
The new road development will bring a significant improvement in road safety. It will eliminate the potential for head on collisions as a result of overtaking manoeuvres.
In addition, analysis of accident reports along the existing N8 route indicates that the largest proportion of accidents involves manoeuvres to and from side roads and private accesses - these will no longer apply on the new section of road, which will now be accessed by grade separated junctions.
The new road will also help reduce the conflict between the strategic through traffic and local traffic. There will be a reduction on the non-national road network in traffic volumes in the vicinity of Mitchelstown.
Overall, the ongoing upgrade of the M8 is bringing about a significant improvement in the accessibility of the whole region, which will facilitate further development, economic activity and tourism.
In these difficult economic times, the Government remains committed to upgrading the Major Inter Urban road network to motorway or high quality dual carriageway standard. The improved accessibility and connectivity from this investment will enable us to take early advantage of a return to global economic growth.
Finally roads like this are not built without the co-operative effort of many groups, individuals and agencies.
In particular I would like to thank
- the contractor and staff – Roadbridge Ltd;
- engineers – Halcrow Barry and McCarthy Hyder Carl Bro;
- the NRA and Cork County Council, and their staff;
- the landowners who have co-operated with the implementation of the project; and
- anybody else who had a role - big or small - in bringing this project to fruition.
All that remains is for me to wish you happy and safe journeys on this and all other roads.