Limerick Tunnel Opening


The Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme which opens today, Tuesday, July 27th, comprises 10km of dual carriageway including the 675 metres Limerick Tunnel under the River Shannon.

The Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme forms Phase 2 of the Limerick Southern Ring Road and connects Phase 1 at Rossbrien on the south side of the city to the N18 Ennis Road on the west and is part of the National Roads Authority’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme. The concession contract was awarded to the Direct Route (Limerick) Ltd Consortium in August 2006 and they hold the concession for a 35 year period. This project has been funded by the Irish Government under National Development Plan 2007-2013 and Transport 21.

An Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen, TD, said “The new Limerick tunnel is an historic crossing under the river Shannon. It is a key element in our national road infrastructure and is vitally important to the people of the Mid-West.

According to Cllr. Maria Byrne, Mayor of Limerick: “The project will reduce very significantly the volumes of traffic moving through the city centre, thus enabling the City Council to advance its City Centre Strategy, involving pedestrianisation and significant upgrading of the public realm. The attractiveness of the City as a place in which to do business will be greatly enhanced.  There will also be benefits in reduced costs and travel time for our citizens and businesses on both sides of our great river.”

Mr. Peter Malone Chairman, National Roads Authority, said “The Limerick Tunnel opening represents another major milestone for inter-regional connectivity.  Drivers can now bypass the notorious bottleneck along the Dock road in Limerick City and travel under the river Shannon, to and from Shannon Airport, Ennis Town, and on to County Galway.  The National Roads Authority, the local authorities and the entire road construction community continue to deliver on the most ambitious road infrastructure programme in Irish history. Additionally, this project improves driver safety, enhances the quality of life for the residents of Limerick city while improving regional competitiveness.  It will contribute positively to growth in tourism, high end manufacturing and growing business services sector throughout the entire Midwest.

The tunnel took four years to construct at a capital cost of €605m and it is within budget and opening ahead of schedule.  The tunnel will have the capacity to take approximately 40,000 vehicles out of Limerick city centre. This will help to ease traffic congestion in the city centre, enhance business, lower CO2 emissions and improve air quality.

The Limerick Tunnel PPP Scheme connects the M7 Dublin to Limerick Route with the N18/M18 Galway to Limerick Road and completes the Southern Bypass of Limerick City. It is anticipated that the remaining section of the M7 towards Limerick will be completed by the end of the year. The scheme runs from the western end of the existing Limerick Southern Ring Road Phase I at Rossbrien and initially travels westwards crossing St. Nessan’s Road, N69 Dock Road and Ballinacurra Creek. It then travels north-westerly crossing Bunlicky Lake for approximately 750m.  It continues in a tunnel under the bed of the River Shannon for a distance of 675m before reaching the portal on the northside of the River Shannon.  From here the route continues north-westerly crossing Meelick Creek and Cratloe Creek with a spur to the Clonmacken Roundabout before tying into the existingN18.

There are two toll plazas are located on the Clonmacken Link road and on the mainline north of the Clonmacken.

Toll Charges:

  • Motorbike €0.90
  • Car €1.80
  • Small Truck/Bus €3.20
  • 3.5T Mid Truck €4.50Large HGV €5.70

Features of the scheme:

  • 10km two-lane dual carriageway
  • 2.3km single lane carriageway Clonmacken Link spur to north side of the city
  • 2 No. grade separated Junctions at the Dock Road and at the N18 Tie-in.
  • 2 No. Interchanges at Rossbrien and at Coonagh.
  • 675m long immersed tube tunnel under the river Shannon
  • The tunnel has a capacity to take 40,000 vehicles per day
  • The tunnel is the length of five football pitches and is the height of an average two storey house
  • 750m causeway across Bunlicky lake• 3 Bridge Crossings of Ballinacurra and Meelick Creeks
  • 2 Combined Road/Rail Bridge Crossings• 5 Road Bridges• 4 underpasses and 8 major culverts
  • 2 toll plazas and associated facilities•
  • 400,000m3 dredged from the river of fill material

Last update:28/07/2010