M50 motorway (Ireland)

From Academic Kids

The M50 motorway is a motorway in the Republic of Ireland running from the M1 motorway in North Dublin, to Leopardstown in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. Soon to be extended to Bray, County Wicklow, it is the Dublin orbital motorway.

The M50 runs in a C-shaped ring around the western side of Dublin. It starts in the north-east with a connection to the M1 route north to Belfast. It crosses the dual West-Link toll bridges and loops around south east of the capital to meet the M11 route to Wexford. As of 2005 the ring is not yet complete, archaeological sites on the route have delayed the completion of the motorway to its junction with the M11. Work is due to commence later in the year on upgrading the earlier sections of motorway.

In June 2005, it was announced that the completed M50 motorway is to open on 30 June 2005. The Carrickmines interchange will not open until October however, as it is still under construction.

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Each of the National Primary Routes leaving Dublin have junctions with the M50. These are in the form of grade-separated roundabout junctions, not free-flowing intersections. The other primary routes served are the N2 to Derry, N3 to Cavan/Northwest, N4/M4 to Galway/Sligo and N7/M7 to Cork/Limerick/Waterford. Additional junctions along the motorway serve other suburbs of Dublin such as Ballymun, Tallaght, Dundrum and Sandyford.

Most of these interchanges are subject to notorious levels of traffic congestion, as are the toll plazas at the West-Link bridge. The busier roundabout junctions are signal-controlled, with tailbacks extending for several kilometers at rush hour. The most infamous is the Red Cow roundabout junction with the N7, also known as the "Mad Cow Roundabout". As well as being the junction of two of the busiest roads in the State, the Luas tram line from Tallaght runs level across two slip roads, continuing city-bound in the median of the N7.

The roundabout at the N3 is also notable as the Royal Canal and the Dublin-Sligo railway line pass through its centre.

Future plans

The M50 is a four-lane motorway, though auxiliary/weaving lanes are provided at several junctions. Plans are in progress under the National Development Plan to upgrade several of the roundabout junctions, including the Red Cow, to free-flowing grade-separated interchanges. The upgrade project also includes widening the surrounding motorway to six lanes from the M1 to Sandyford with the extra driving lanes replacing the existing wide grass-covered median. The upgrade programme has been planned to include at least three stages – the upgrade of the section between the N4 road and N7 road (along with replacing the interchanges with near-freeflow layouts), followed by upgrading the northern and then southern motorway sections.

Completion of Dublin's ring road by construction of an Eastern Bypass of the city has been proposed. This plan is highly controversial, as it would require a tunnel across Sandymount Strand to or possibly through Booterstown Marsh bird sanctuary. A motorway reservation from Sandyford to Booterstown has been included in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Development Plan, with space allowed for an interchange where it crosses the N11. The Dublin Port Tunnel, already under construction and due to open in 2005, would form the northern half of the Eastern bypass.

Route

The road begins as the N32 at the Malahide Road in Dublin. It becomes the M50 at Junction 3, which is also Junction 3 on the M1.

There is no Junction 8, the junction number having being reserved for a potential extension of the M7 motorway between Lucan and Clondalkin. This is now unlikely to be built.

The road ends at Junction 14, the final section to the N11 at Bray is currently under construction.

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