The M3 motorway is an important north-west artery in Ireland connecting from Dublin through Kells and beyond. The M3 project revamped a portion of this road running from Clonee to Kells and stands as one of the largest infrastructure projects in Irish history.
The newly built M3 has been a boon for the region. It has dramatically reduced the flow of commercial and freight traffic through urban centres along the way. This serves multiple purposes, not least of which is the reduction of journey times and traffic delays. However, it has also helped local authorities protect the archaeological sites and excavation projects that have made this region famous.
The project was handled by the construction group, SIAC, and cost roughly €500 million. It called for the construction of 63 km worth of new motorway, with another 61 km worth of side roads and links. A total of 35 overbridges, 19 underpasses, 2 railway bridges and 3 river bridges were built in the process.
And that’s just the beginning. The construction of the M3 also required more than 5 million cubic metres of excavation and even more fill. Beyond that, 150,000 shrubs and trees were planted. These figures combine to make the M3 the biggest engineering project ever carried out in Ireland. Needless to say, this is an important, game-changing project.
Two toll plazas stand on the M3 between Clonee and Kells. The northern plaza is west of White’s Quarry (between junctions 9 and 10), with its southern counterpart north of the Blackbull overbridge (between junctions 5 and 6). It forges a strategic link between Dublin and Ireland’s north-east and is projected to reduce the old N3’s accident rate by 30 percent. Motorists on the M3 also save an average of 17 minutes driving time along this segment.
Tolls that motorists pay depend on the type of vehicle they drive and are subject to change over time. As of 2013, motorcycles are charged €0.70, while regular motor vehicles pay €1.40. You can look up current toll rates on Ireland’s National Roads Authority website. Customers who have a picked up a car rental in Dublin or any other locations are responsible for paying their own tolls.
Locals can have their vehicles outfitted with a small electric tag that automatically calculates tolls and charges them against the driver’s balance. However, this is really only practical for long-term visitors and residents. Tourists can save time and eliminate hassle by ensuring that they have correct change with them as they pass through the toll plaza.