Dublin Port Tunnel is located along a portion of the M1, just off the M50 on the outskirts of Dublin. It is actually a pair of twin tunnels, the set of which form a two-lane dual carriageway that connects the port to the M1 motorway, within easy reach of Dublin Airport.
The tunnel was built in the few years of the 21st century in response to increased congestion in Dublin city centre. At that time, the amount of heavy goods vehicles plying the city streets was becoming a problem, and authorities decided to address this by building a dedicated route from Dublin Port directly to the outlying motorway, bypassing the city centre. The entire project cost roughly €752 million to complete. This makes it the largest roads transportation project in the history of Ireland.
This twin-bore tunnel project stretches 4.5 km underground and joins up with the C-Ring around Dublin City. By eliminating the need for heavy goods vehicles to pass through the city centre, the Dublin Port Tunnel is improving local air quality and reducing congestion. It also makes Dublin a friendlier place for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport vehicles. By the same token, freight vehicles heading out of the port can connect to the M50 motorway in six minutes.
The Dublin Port Tunnel was built explicitly for large commercial vehicles in hopes of reducing congestion and pollution in the city centre. With this in mind, the toll scheme is set up to favour large vehicles with cargo in tow.
For those heading to the airport, the tunnel can be a quick and convenient option. Drivers are not prohibited from taking advantage of this. However, they will be charged a relatively stiff toll. As of 2013, all passenger vehicles – including motorcycles and motorcars – pay €10 in each direction during peak hours and €3 outside of peak hours as well as at weekends and national holidays. Commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and buses with more than 25 seats can use the tunnel for free. Check the Dublin Tunnel website for information on current tolls.
There are two major modes of payment. If you have exact change, you can proceed to one of the automated lanes and drop this in coin machine. Manned booths are also on hand to assist with collection. Finally, those who regularly make use of the tunnel can have their vehicle fitted out with an electronic tag that pays the toll automatically.