N18 road (Ireland)
(bypassed routes in italics)
The N18 road is a national primary road in Ireland, connecting the cities of Limerick and Galway. Ennis and Gort are two major towns on the route, and Shannon Airport is reached via the connecting N19. The west coast route continues on to Sligo as the N17. The section from Limerick to the N19 junction forms part of European route E20, and the entire route is part of the proposed Atlantic Corridor. The section of motorway from Shannon to north of Gort is designated the M18 motorway. The tolled Limerick Tunnel forms part of the route.
N18 Limerick to Shannon
As of 27 July 2010, the N18 commences at the Rosbrien interchange, a major interchange south of Limerick city, where it joins the M7 motorway to Dublin and M20 motorway towards Cork and Tralee. The dual carriageway continues north, intersecting with the N69 road, before crossing under the River Shannon using the Limerick Tunnel, this section of the route forms phase II of the Limerick Southern Ring Road. North of the River Shannon the N18 continues as dual-carriageway bypassing Cratloe, Sixmilebridge and Bunratty. The road passed alongside Bunratty Castle before the completion of the neighbouring dual-carriageway section in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The other nearby junctions were also converted to fly-overs in the 1990s.
M18 Shannon to Gort
The N18 continues north of the N19 junction where motorway regulations are enforced and the N18 route is designated as the M18 bypassing the towns of Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ennis and Gort. The motorway currently ends at Gort where the route continues as a single carriageway through County Galway. The dual-carriageway between Shannon and Ennis (including the Ennis bypass) was included in the second tranche of motorway redesignations and gained motorway status on the 28th of August 2009.
N18 Gort to Claregalway
North of Gort the route continues north as single carriageway road and passes through several small towns, including Kilcolgan, where the N67 route through north County Clare connects. The N18 bypasses Oranmore, just outside Galway, and continues north to the M6 Dublin–Galway motorway. The interchange forms junction 19 on the M6. The N18 continues northwards to meet the N17 at Claregalway, where the route ends. The N17, coming from Galway city centre, continues into County Mayo towards Sligo.
Major improvements to the N18 route have been made over the past decade. Originally the route was a narrow single carriageway route that ran through all the main towns and villages between Limerick and Claregalway where the route terminates. The first improvements involved the dualling of the Limerick, Bunratty and Shannon route. The Newmarket on Fergus bypass opened in December 2002 and the Ennis bypass opened in 2007. Both were redesignated as motorway in August 2009. The Limerick Tunnel and phase II of the Limerick Southern Ring Road opened in July 2010 forming a continuous motorway dual-carriageway from the N/M18 to the M7 and M20 outside Limerick. On November 12, 2010 the €207 million Gort to Crusheen(M18) bypass was opened. The remaining single carriageway sections are due for upgradeing with construction due to begin in 2011.
Gort to Athenry (Under Construction)
The Gort to Tuam (M18/M17) scheme consists of 53.2 km (33.1 mi) of motorway and 4.2 km (2.6 mi) of Type 2 dual-carriageway. DirectRoute (Tuam) Ltd., a consortium consisting of Marguerite Fund, InfraRed Capital Partners, Sisk Group, Lagan Construction Group, Roadbridge and Strabag began construction of the scheme in 2015 and is expected to complete the work in "early 2018".
It will complete the existing M18 motorway, which currently terminates at a temporary junction near Gort, in addition to constructing a new section of the N17 as motorway. This motorway will begin at a new junction with the M6 near Athenry, and will end with a dual-carriageway bypass of Tuam, which is also to be constructed as part of the scheme but will not be designated a motorway.
|(Junctions numbered south to north)|
|Northbound exit||Junction||Southbound exit|
|(M7 ) Rossbrien, Cork (M20 )||
||Rossbrien, Limerick (city centre) (R509), Cork (M20 )|
|Dock Road (N69)||
||Dock Road (N69)|
|Ennis Road (former N18)||
||Ennis Road (former N18)|
|Cratloe, Sixmilebridge (R462)||
||Cratloe, (Sixmilebridge) (R462)|
|Hurler's Cross, Shannon Town, (Sixmilebridge) (R471)||
||Hurler's Cross, Sixmilebridge, Shannon Town (R471)|
|Shannon Town Centre (R471)||
|Northbound exit||Junction||Southbound exit|
|Ennis, Scarriff, Tulla (R352)||
||Ennis, Scarriff, Tulla (R352)|
|Northbound exit||Junction||Southbound exit||Completion|
|Galway, Athlone, Dublin (M6 )||
||Galway, Athlone, Dublin (M6 )|