A new tolled tunnel crossing under the river Shannon has officially opened for traffic and is the latest National Roads Authority's Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme to be completed. At a cost of €660 million, the tunnel opened ahead of its four-year construction schedule and will take up to 40,000 vehicles from the streets of Limerick city each day.
The tunnel connects the M7 Dublin to Limerick road with the N18/M18 Galway to Limerick route and completes the southern by-pass of Limerick city. Comprising of 10 kilometres of dual-carriageway the scheme also includes 11 bridges, five underpasses, two toll plazas and its own traffic management system.
The 675-metre tunnel under the Shannon is tolled at €1.80 per car and up to €5.70 for large trucks.
Mr. Noel Dempsey, TD, Minister for Transport, said "The Limerick Tunnel is the outcome of many years of vision and effort. It is one of the largest infrastructural projects ever undertaken in the Mid-West region. It will provide a fourth crossing of the river Shannon in Limerick and improve access times for commuters to the city, as well as access to Shannon Airport, Galway, Cork, Kerry and Dublin".
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".