M6 motorway (Ireland)

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This motorway forms part of the N6 road.

M6 motorway IE.png

M6 motorway
N15 road N16 road Sligo N17 road N26 road N5 road N4 road N5 road Longford Westport N17 road Galway M6 motorway N18 road M18 motorway Limerick M7 motorway M20 motorway N24 road N21 road Tralee N20 road M8 motorway N22 road Cork Londonderry/Derry Londonderry/Derry N13 road N14 road N13 road N15 road Armagh Belfast Belfast N2 road N3 road N4 road M1 motorway M3 motorway M4 motorway Dublin N7 road M7 motorway N11 road M9 motorway Kilkenny M11 motorway N10 road N11 road N24 road M9 motorway N30 road N25 road N25 road Waterford N25 roadM6 motorway (Ireland).png
About this image

Mano cursor.svg Clickable image
Route information
Part of N6 national IE.png
Length: 151 km (94 mi)
Existed: 2006 – present
History: Completed in 2009
Major junctions
From: Kinnegad
  Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png M4 reduced motorway IE.png
Motorway Exit 4 Ireland.PNG N52 national.IE.png
Motorway Exit 5 Ireland.PNG N52 national.IE.png
Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG N80 National IE.png
Motorway Exit 16 Ireland.PNG N65 National IE.png
Motorway Exit 18 Ireland.PNG M17 reduced motorway IE.png
(upon completion)
Motorway Exit 18 Ireland.PNG M18 reduced motorway IE.png
(upon completion)
Motorway Exit 19 Ireland.PNG N18 national IE.png
To: Galway
Location
Primary
destinations:
Tullamore (N52), Kilbeggan, Moate (R420), Athlone, Ballinasloe, Loughrea
Road network

The M6 motorway (Irish: Mótarbhealach M6) is a motorway in Ireland, which runs (together with the M4) from Dublin to Galway. The M6 extends from its junction with the M4 at Kinnegad all the way west to the outskirts of Galway City, but the Athlone bypass and the approach to Galway city - while of dual carriageway standard - have not been designated motorway and are still signed as N6. The motorway was officially completed and opened to traffic on 18 December 2009, and was the first city-to-city direct major inter-urban route to be completed in Ireland. The M6 and M4, which form the Galway-Dublin route, consist of a grade-separated 2+2 dual carriageway road with a top speed limit of 120 km/h. At approximately 144 km (90 mi), the M6 is the third longest motorway in the state.

Route[edit]

Near Kinnegad, the M6 motorway diverges from the M4 at a restricted access junction. From here it proceeds westward, passing through counties Westmeath, Offaly, Roscommon and Galway before terminating just east of Galway City near Doughiska.

History[edit]

The present-day M6 was constructed in five stages between 2005 and late 2009. Some of the sections which now form part of the M6 were initially opened as dual-carriageway and previously formed part of the N6, while other sections were opened as motorway. In chronological order, the various sections opened as follows (status on opening in brackets):

  • Kinnegad-Tyrellspass (5 December 2006, as dual carriageway);
  • Tyrellspass-Kilbeggan (16 May 2007, as dual carriageway);
  • Kilbeggan-Athlone (16 July 2008, as dual carriageway);
  • Athlone-Ballinasloe (23 July 2009, as motorway);
  • Ballinasloe-Galway (18 December 2009, as motorway).

Kinnegad-Athlone[edit]

From 24 September 2008, motorway regulations were applied from Kinnegad to the eastern end of the Athlone bypass.[1] The Kinnegad-Athlone scheme was signed as a motorway (and numbered "M6"). Its road markings were already appropriate to a motorway prior to the change in designation coming into effect; however, motorway regulations were not in force and the speed limit was 100 km/h until 24 September of that year.

Athlone-Ballinasloe[edit]

Construction of this 19-km section of road commenced on 3 September 2007 and opened to traffic on 23 July 2009.[2] It was built as a grade separated HQDC to motorway standard and was redesignated a motorway on 28 August 2009. Prior to this date, the scheme was subject to a reduced speed limit of 100 km/h. The central barrier on this road is a traditional metal barrier rather than the Concrete step barriers, which have become standard on all new dual-carriageways in Ireland and UK in recent years. The Athlone to Ballinasloe scheme was built by SIAC-Willis JV.

Ballinasloe-Galway[edit]

Construction of this 56-km section of M6 began in 2007. This section lies between the town of Ballinasloe and Galway City, running between junctions 14 and 20 on the M6 corridor. The road is a tolled Public-private partnership scheme, and opened under motorway restrictions.[3] This scheme was a matter of some controversy at its planning stage. The environmental agency An Taisce claimed that the National Roads Authority's planned route would be "particularly destructive" in passing the site of the 17th-century Battle of Aughrim[4] The decision to toll the route is also controversial, as the M4 motorway to/from Dublin, which connects with the N6/M6 route, is also tolled. This is effect meant that motorists would have to pay two tolls when driving between Dublin and Galway. It was pointed out, however, that this corresponds with the Authority's plan to have two tolls on each of the main interurban routes. The new section of N6/M6 between Ballinasloe and Galway was also quite unusual in another way: Unlike most national road upgrade projects in Ireland, the new route differed significantly from that of the original N6. The new route runs roughly east-west between the two destinations, rather than dipping south to Loughrea, as the former alignment N6 did. The N56 was extended from Loughrea to the new M6 was constructed to cater for this change. The altered nature of the route also meant that the town of Athenry was situated close to a national primary route for the first time. As an emergency measure to restore access from Dublin to Galway after severe flooding at Craughwell on Friday 20 November 2009, an incomplete section of this scheme between Loughrea and Galway Clinic (Doughiska) was opened temporarily.

Junctions[edit]

The start of the M6, where it diverges from the M4.
Junction 7 on the M6.
The M6 westbound between Athlone and Ballinasloe.
The M6 approaching junction 17 in County Galway.

There are two junction numbering schemes on the N6 route. The M6 junction numbers below are used on the Kinnegad-Athlone section. The Athlone bypass has a separate numbering scheme (J1-J6) but this is likely to be renumbered.

M6 reduced motorway IE.png
Westbound exit Junction Eastbound exit
Start of motorway (M4 Motorway Exit 11 Ireland.PNG)
Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png
The EAST (M4 Motorway Exit 11 Ireland.PNG)

- Dublin, Kinnegad, Leixlip, Lucan

Kinnegad (R446)
Motorway Exit 2 Ireland.png
Kinnegad (R446) Sligo, Westport (N4) Enfield (R148)
Rochfordbridge, Milltownpass (R446)
Motorway Exit 3 Ireland.PNG
Rochfordbridge, Milltownpass (R446)
Tyrrellspass, Mullingar (N52)
Motorway Exit 4 Ireland.PNG
Tyrrellspass, Mullingar (N52)
Tullamore, Kilbeggan (N52)
Motorway Exit 5 Ireland.PNG
Tullamore, Kilbeggan (N52)
Moate (N80)
Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG
Moate (N80)
Moate (R446)
Motorway Exit 7 Ireland.PNG
Moate (R446)
Athlone (R446) End of motorway
Motorway Exit 8 Ireland.PNG
Start of motorway
N6 national IE.png
Westbound exits Junction Eastbound exits
Motorway Exit 8 Ireland.PNG
Athlone (R446)
Athlone
Motorway Exit 9 Ireland.PNG
Athlone
Athlone (N55)
Motorway Exit 10 Ireland.PNG
Athlone (N55)
Athlone
Motorway Exit 11 Ireland.PNG
Athlone
Athlone (N61)
Motorway Exit 12 Ireland.PNG
Athlone (N61)
Athlone (R446)
Motorway Exit 13 Ireland.PNG
Athlone (R446)
M6 reduced motorway IE.png
Westbound exit Junction Eastbound exit
Ballinasloe (R357)
Motorway Exit 14 Ireland.PNG
Ballinasloe (R357)
Ballinasloe (R446)
Motorway Exit 15 Ireland.PNG
Ballinasloe (R446)
Ireland Road Toll Symbol.png
Kiltullagh, Loughrea
Motorway Exit 16 Ireland.PNG
Kiltullagh, Loughrea
Athenry (R348)
Motorway Exit 17 Ireland.PNG
Athenry (R348)
---
Oranmore (N18)
Motorway Exit 19 Ireland.PNG
Oranmore (N18)
Galway (R446)
Motorway Exit 20 Ireland.PNG
Galway (R446)
N6 national IE.png (in planning)
Westbound exit Junction Eastbound exit Completion
Galway (N84)
Motorway Exit 21 Ireland.PNG
Galway (N84)
Preliminary design [1]
Galway (N59)
Motorway Exit 22 Ireland.PNG
Galway (N59)
End of N6 with R336

Tolls[edit]

Although the M6 is a tolled motorway, there is only a single toll plaza, located at Cappataggle, between junctions 15 Ballinasloe West & 16 Loughrea.[5] Hence there is no toll payable to travel between the eastern end of the motorway and Ballinasloe and also between Loughrea and the western end at Galway city. Tolls may be paid by cash, credit card or through the use of an electronic tag.[6]

Future[edit]

Motorway redesignations affecting the M6[edit]

At present, the M6 motorway leads into the non-motorway Athlone bypass and continues again west of the bypass to Galway. Subject to improvements, the Athlone Bypass may yet come under motorway regulations and be incorporated into the rest of the M6 route.

Proposed Motorway Service Area[edit]

The National Roads Authority (NRA) has planned the construction Motorway Service Areas at approximately 60 kilometre intervals along each of Ireland's interurban routes.[7] Under this plan, the M6 will have one such area. It will be located just east of Athlone (see here, p. 25[8]). The EIS for the M6 Athlone Motorway Service Area is now available at the NRA website (scroll down to the bottom here).[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]