M18 motorway (Ireland)

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M18 motorway shield}}

M18 motorway
Route information
Part of IRL N18.svg
Length70.8 km (44.0 mi)
Existed26 January 2007–present
HistoryCompleted on 27 September 2017[1]
Major junctions
 Motorway Exit 9 Ireland.PNGIRL N19.svg
Motorway Exit 12 Ireland.PNGIRL N85.svg
Motorway Exit 18 Ireland.PNGM6 reduced motorway IE.png
Motorway Exit 18 Ireland.PNGM17 reduced motorway IE.png
ToJunction 18 terminus, east of Galway.
Ennis, Shannon, Gort
Road network

The M18 motorway (Irish: Mótarbhealach M18) is an inter-urban motorway in Ireland, forming part of the Limerick, Ennis to Galway national primary road, which, in turn, forms part of the Atlantic Corridor called for as part of the Transport 21 project.


The motorway starts at junction 9 on the Shannon bypass and heads in a north direction where it bypasses the town of Newmarket-on-Fergus via the townlands of Killulla, Knocksaggart and Ballyconneely. After Newmarket-on-Fergus the motorway runs alongside Dromoland, where significant historical features can be seen from the mainline.

As the route gets further north it develops into a more modern style of road: the Ennis Bypass. The median was constructed with a H2 concrete barrier rather than the wide grassy median seen in the earlier stretch to the south and features a lower noise wearing course. Bypassing the notorious bottlenecks of Ennis town and Clarecastle village, this section was completed in 2007 and significantly reduces travel times between Galway, Ennis, and Limerick. After passing to the east of Ennis the motorway enters the townlands of Killow and Knockanean.

The latest 22 km stretch, bypassing Crusheen village and the town of Gort, was opened in November 2010. The motorway ends at junction 18 of the M6. The road continues northbound as the M17 towards Tuam.


  • Ennis Bypass (January 2007, as dual carriageway, now redesignated as a Motorway)
  • Newmarket-on-Fergus Bypass (December 2002, as dual carriageway)
  • Crusheen to Gort (November 2010, Motorway)
  • Gort to M6/M17 Junction 18 (September 2017, Motorway)

Ennis Bypass[edit]

The 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) Ennis Bypass opened to traffic as a standard dual carriageway section of the N18 on 26 January 2007, after a construction period of almost three years.[2] In July 2009 it was redesignated as a motorway section of the M18 as from 28 August 2009.[3] In addition to Ennis, the road also bypasses the village of Clarecastle. The scheme was built by Gama Strabeg JV.

Newmarket-on-Fergus Bypass[edit]

The Newmarket-on-Fergus Bypass opened as a 5.7 km (3.5 mi) dual carriageway on 30 September 2002, routing around the town of Newmarket-on-Fergus. The scheme alleviated one of the worst congestion black spots in the country. It includes two grade separated junctions at Carrigoran and Dromoland, and was redesignated as motorway on 28 August 2009.[3]

Ennis (Crusheen) to Gort[edit]

Construction of a 22 km (14 mi) section of the M18 between Crusheen and Gort commenced in October, 2008 and was opened to traffic on 12 November 2010. This scheme, known as 'Gort to Crusheen', connects to the northern end of the Ennis bypass and provides continuous motorway to just north of Gort in County Galway.[4] The scheme was built by SIAC Wills JV. [1]

Gort to Claregalway[edit]

The Gort to Tuam (M18/M17) route is 58 km (36 mi.) long. The project involved the construction of motorway from Gort to Athenry, extending in the process the total length of the M18 by 27 km (17 mi). It connects to the M17 Motorway where they cross the Dublin to Galway M6 motorway, which opened in December 2009. This was also included in the second tranche of motorway redesignations and was opened as motorway. In April 2014, it was confirmed that the project would proceed and the new section opened on 27 September 2017.[5][6][7]

Work on the project began on 15 January 2015 and was managed by Direct Route.[8]


A section of the Ennis Bypass before the motorway changeover.
M18 southbound J13 1km ADS Signage taken before redesignation on the Ennis bypass
This taken on the Ennis bypass section junction 13 southbound and gantry for junction 13
IRL N18.svg
(Junctions numbered south to north)
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
Dual carriageway continues from M7 (Motorway Exit 30 Ireland.PNG)
(M7 Motorway Exit 30 Ireland.PNG) Rossbrien, Cork (M20 Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png)
Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png
Rossbrien, Limerick (city centre) (R509), Cork (M20 Motorway Exit 1 Ireland.png)
Dock Road (N69)
Motorway Exit 2 Ireland.png
Dock Road (N69)
Shannon Tunnel
Coonagh West Ireland Road Toll Symbol.png
Motorway Exit 3 Ireland.PNG
Ireland Road Toll Symbol.png
Ennis Road (former N18)
Motorway Exit 4 Ireland.PNG
Ennis Road (former N18)
Cratloe, Sixmilebridge (R462)
Motorway Exit 5 Ireland.PNG
Cratloe, (Sixmilebridge) (R462)
Motorway Exit 6 Ireland.PNG
Hurler's Cross, Shannon Town, (Sixmilebridge) (R471)
Motorway Exit 7 Ireland.PNG
Hurler's Cross, Sixmilebridge, Shannon Town (R471)
Shannon Town Centre (R471)
Motorway Exit 8 Ireland.PNG
no access
M18 reduced motorway IE.png
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
Shannon (N19)
Motorway Exit 9 Ireland.PNG
Shannon (N19)
Newmarket-on-Fergus (R472)
Motorway Exit 10 Ireland.PNG
Newmarket-on-Fergus (R472)
Clarecastle (R458)
Motorway Exit 11 Ireland.PNG
Clarecastle (R458)
Ennis (N85), Ennis Services (in plannig)
Motorway Exit 12 Ireland.PNGMotorway Services Ireland.png
Ennis (N85), Ennis Services (in plannig)
Ennis, Scarriff, Tulla (R352)
Motorway Exit 13 Ireland.PNG
Ennis, Scarriff, Tulla (R352)
Ennis (R458)
Motorway Exit 14 Ireland.PNG
Ennis (R458)
Crusheen (R458)
Motorway Exit 15 Ireland.PNG
Crusheen (R458)
Gort (R458)
Motorway Exit 16 Ireland.PNG
Gort (R458)
Kiltiernan (R458)
Motorway Exit 17 Ireland.PNG
Kiltiernan (R458)
Galway, Athlone, Dublin (M6 Motorway Exit 19 Ireland.PNG)
Motorway Exit 18 Ireland.PNG
Galway, Athlone, Dublin (M6 Motorway Exit 19 Ireland.PNG)
Motorway continues as M17


Gort-Crusheen under construction (June 2009): The grade-separated junction at Gort.
CBM being laid down on the mainline of the Gort to Crusheen scheme looking north from the R460 overbridge

Motorway redesignations affecting the M18[edit]

Initially, none of the proposed dual carriageway between Limerick and Galway outlined in the Transport 21 programme was to operate under motorway restrictions. However, the Irish National Roads Authority (NRA) decided late in 2008 to include all sections of grade separated N18 – whether built, under construction, or still at the planning stage – in its second tranche of motorway redesignation proposals.[5] These were approved by the Irish minister for transport in July 2009, and the changes came into effect on 28 August 2009.[3]


  1. ^ "Galway's new M17/M18 motorway to open ahead of schedule". The AA. 31 August 2017.
  2. ^ "N18 Ennis Bypass". National Roads Authority. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  3. ^ a b c "Statutory Instrument No. 255 of 2009 - Roads Act 2007 (Declaration Of Motorways) Order 2009" (PDF). Stationery Office. 2 July 2009. Archived from the original (pdf) on 15 June 2011.
  4. ^ http://www.nra.ie/RoadSchemeActivity/GalwayCountyCouncil/N18GorttoCrusheen/Map,16516,en.pdf
  5. ^ a b "N3 LEAFLET rev2" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 June 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
  6. ^ "View Notice". E-tenders.gov.ie. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  7. ^ "New motorway in Galway set to cut journey times". RTE News. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Work to start on the Tuam Bypass in January". The Tuam Herald.