When complete the motorway will span 60 km and run from Clonee, a satellite village around 14 km from Dublin, to Kells, a market town 60 km from the capital towards Donegal and Derry. The project will cover approximately 700 hectares of land, and will include 60km of mainline and 50km of ancillary and access roads. A total of 135 new structures including underpasses, bridges, culverts, retaining walls and sign gantrys will be introduced, together with two toll plazas and associated control buildings.
The route from Clonee to Kells is currently served by the National Primary N3 Dublin to Cavan road, which comprises a dual carriageway to the Clonee Bypass, before passing through the centre of Dunshaughlin to the Navan Inner Relief Route and on through the centre of Kells. The road design utilises the dip or in the existing N3 south of Garlow Cross; this is the lowest point on this particular stretch of the existing N3 and allows the motorway to pass over the existing road with minimal elevation. Where the N3 and M3 intersect, two roundabouts will be added to the existing road and four slip roads will link from the roundabouts onto the motorway.
The M3 project is a key part of the plan to upgrade the overall road network throughout Ireland. The transport corridor that links the North West, Cavan and North Meath with Dublin City is one of the busiest in the country, and the existing N3 road is struggling to cope with increased traffic volumes triggered by population explosion in towns such as Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells.
It is anticipated that the M3 will accommodate approximately 22,000 vehicles each day, and this figure will more than double in the ten years following its construction. By upgrading the existing N3, the planning team will meet key objectives laid down in the National Development Plan 2000-2006, the Meath County Council Development Plan and the Dublin Transportation Office ‘Platform for Change’ Strategy 2000-2016.
The M3 was one of the projects announced by the NRA in June 2000 under Tranche II of the PPP Roads programme, and the Clonee-Kells route was selected following a four-year planning process in which a number of route options were examined. The scheme was also subjected to a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a full Oral Hearing which was held in 2002.
Following these extensive investigations and discussions, the planning team decided on a route which passes a number of historically significant areas including the World Heritage Site of Bra na Boinne, Tara, Fourknocks, Mount Oriel, Trim and Kells. The planning team made every effort to avoid all known sites during the route selection process, and completed extensive studies to identify any potential new sites previously unknown; the proposed route of the M3 was changed three times to avoid sites of archaeological significance. However, because of the density of archaeological sites surviving in Ireland it would be practically impossible to continually move the line of a road to avoid all archaeology.
To minimise disturbance to the area’s rich heritage, a thorough archaeological investigation including desk-top assessment, field walking and geophysical surveys was carried out as part of the EIS. This was followed by full excavation of the whole route in 2004, with several million cubic metres of ground dug up by specialist teams.
The investigation revealed a total of 160 sites of archaeological interest along the length of the route, ranging from the Neolithic period to modern times. Archaeological resolution of these sites began in June 2005 and has been completed to the most exacting specifications; the investigation team has made several remarkable discoveries, including the remains of three giant Irish deer and a Megalithic art decoration at Lismullin souterrain.
Construction of the motorway began on 27th April 2007 in accordance with the National Road Authority’s preliminary design. The highest standards are being implemented at all levels of the project and work has been accelerated by the employment of innovative technologies, particularly in earthworks and structures.
The PPP Contract was awarded in April 2007 to the Eurolink Consortium, comprising SIAC Construction Ltd and Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transport S.A. (Cintra). Engineering consultants Grontmij prepared the designs for the scheme, and the project is being managed by SIAC Ferrovial, a joint venture partnership involving SIAC and Ferrovial Agroman.
SIAC is now one of Ireland's largest contractors with a strong reputation and growing business both domestically and across the UK. Through a programme of alliances with major international civil engineering contractors and specialist contractors, the company has proven itself able to undertake multidisciplinary projects of scale and complexity.
Ferrovial Agroman S.A is the construction arm of Grupo Ferrovial, a company which focuses on investments in four strategic business areas - construction, airports, toll roads & car parks, and services. Just 50 years after its foundation, the company has become one of the leading building groups in Europe specialising in developing, financing, maintaining and managing transport, urban and services infrastructures.
Expansion has taken the company into new markets and it is now a multinational group present in 45 countries, with 100,000 employees in Europe (Spain, Ireland, UK, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Switzerland), North America (USA and Canada), Australia, Asia and South America. The company’s Irish presence is maintained by Ferrovial-Agroman Ireland Ltd.
<<Back to News