Thursday, July 07, 2005

M50 Dublin completion - at last!

The final part of the M50 Dublin orbital motorway opened a week ago. It covers the section from Sandyford Industrial Estate to the south eastern M11 near Shankill village. All sections of the M50 had their own problems in planning and construction but this final section had massive challenges.

Acquisition of lands proved to be slow and hugely expensive - with owners presumably seeking their lands to be paid for at inflated residential zoning rates. There were spacing and technical routing/interchange challenges in taking the road though built up areas near Sandyford Industrial Estate and also various other special civil engineering challenges.

Then of course the infamous issue of the medieval ruins situated below ground level on the planned Carrickmines interchange of the M50. This saga gets my blood boiling as it caused the most disproportionate delays and wastage of taxpayers money I've ever witnessed for a road construction. Most of us greatly value our medieval history and the State contributed hugely in time and funding to gain the best archeological studies and retrievals from the site. This effort was particularly intensive when you consider that the site was grossly overrated as a "castle" with just traces of stubs of walls remaining. It could be argued that the legal challenges and inordinate time wasting and expenditure were way out of proportion to the value of the site. The motorists of Ireland affected by this section not only struggled through traffic jams for years longer than necessary - but paid dearly in further taxes for the privilege. The forum for challenge and objection was stretched beyond any reasonable democratic process.

I do detect that lessons have been learned from the M50 construction - in all the areas above and more. For the benefit of future generations we must learn to manage such projects in a macro teamwork manner and cut down dramatically the time and cost of road construction projects.

In any event it is a time to celebrate. The last section of M50 completion is a culmination of many years of hard work and frustrations by the planners/designers/utilities/contractors. Let us not forget that in addition to the route itself there are many linkage roads which were planned and built well in advance and which came fully into effect with the final motorway completion.

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