New M7 projects will take 26 months to finish and save 11 lives as area is Co Kildare's biggest accident blackspot

M7 empty
A badly-needed upgrade of the traffic-clogged M7 bottleneck between Johnstown and Newbridge was finally given the green light today. It is part of the Government's major six-year infrastructure funding plan costing €27bn which will spanned sectors like transport, education and health. KildareNow revealed earlier this month that the Government was considering a multi-million euro upgrade of 15km of the M7 between Johnstown and the M7/M9 interchange by adding an extra lane in both directions. Also being planned is a new Sallins Bypass to ease congestion for thousands of motorists in the area and the construction of the Osberstown Interchange as a further relief for traffic. The total cost of the three projects is estimated to be €110m but there will be significant disruptions to daily traffic for 26 months during construction expected to begin next year. The Governement believes the projects 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. Local TD Emmet Stagg said these Projects ticked all the right boxes in terms of economic benefits, cost, jobs and safety improvements. He added; "Since the flyover at Newlands Cross opened the congestion on the M7 at Johnstown/Naas has increased significantly with long tail backs. This has led to numerous accidents and increased traffic in Kill and Johnstown by motorists trying to avoid the area. "Traffic in Sallins is repeatedly gridlocked also and the Bypass will give Sallins back to the residents of the area. "The Osberstown Interchange will open up a large landbank suitable for job creation similar to the Kerry Group." Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan said the upgrade of the M7 will also provide for the extra traffic generated by the Kerry Group at Monread, Naas and other major investors in the area who depend largely on effective and efficient road transport. TD Anthony Lawlor said that 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. The overall capital programme also provided for major infrastructure projects, primarily a new rapid transit system from Dublin city centre to Dublin Airport and Swords. It also included funds to allow the quick completion of the National Children’s Hospital and a substantial increase in expenditure for school buildings. The plan, which promises to create 45,000 jobs, includes the Rotunda maternity hospital moving Blanchardstown, €200m for a new garda IT system and €1bn to be spent on flood defences.

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