Worried about a new toll on the M7? No need to fret - the Government is picking up the tab for the upgrade

Above: The toll plaza on the M7 at Cullahill, Co Laois Motorists have been told not to worry about any new tolls being imposed on the upgraded M7. The Government announced yesterday that an extra lane will be added in each direction between Johnstown and the M9 interchange to help end the daily 15km bottleneck which has become a scourge for commuters in Co Kildare. However Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which replaced the National Roads Authority (NRA), moved today to ease concerns of some motorists that there may be a new toll to pay for construction costs. There is already a €1.90 toll for cars on the M7 near Portlaoise. TII spokesman Sean O'Neill told KildareNow: "There will be absolutely no toll on the upgraded M7 motorway so people needn't worry. "The funding needed for the €110m works on the M7 will come directly from the Exchequer and not from any toll." Mr O'Neill also said that traffic disruptions will be kept to a minimum on the corridor which is one of the busiest in the country. The Governement believes the M7 upgrade - as well as the Sallins Bypass and the Osberstown Interchange - will save 11 lives and 23 serious injuries as the area represents the most collision prone zone in Kildare. The 'bottleneck' route between Johnstown and the M9 interchange is regularly congested in both directions due to growing volumes of traffic at peak times. Average vehicle numbers have jumped by 3,000 in the past year alone. Contractors will be selected next year and the projects should take approximately 26 months to complete - but the Sallins Bypass could take only 18 months.

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