The N6 toll road connects Galway to Ballinasloe, bridging counties Galway and Roscommon along the way. It encompasses 56 km worth of mainline dual carriageway, a 7-km link to the bypass at Loughgrea and more than 30 km of secondary roads. This is a relatively recent addition to Ireland’s toll roads. Construction began in 2007 and completed at the end of 2009.
This is the second-largest road scheme introduced under Transport 21, an Irish infrastructure plan that was introduced in 2005 and focuses on roadways and public transport arteries. This projected upgraded the N6 road and resulted in the M6 motorway-grade artery. However, some portions of this thoroughfare are still signposted as the ‘N6’.
The route features several bypasses between Doughiska (east of Galway City) and its link-up with the N6 on the outskirts of Ballinasloe. As such, it provides direct access from Galway to Athenry and eliminates the need to enter stop-and-go traffic six separate towns and cities. Along the way, the motorway passes five grade-separated junctions and features nine roundabouts (connecting to link roads), a bridge over a river, three railroad crossings, 30 intermittent bridges and a pedestrian bridge.
Tolls are levied at a single collection point on the N4. The revenue generated is used to offset the cost of the motorway’s construction and maintenance over a 30-year concession.
The N6’s single toll collection booth is located roughly in the middle of the motorway, between junctions 15 and 16 at Cappataggle. With that in mind, it is possible to drive along the easternmost and westernmost extremes of the toll road without actually paying a fee. Of course, drivers passing through the toll plaza pay the full toll.
Tolls are subject to change over time. As of 2013, the fares were set at €1.00 for motorcycles over 50 cc, and €1.90 for regular cars. Buses, coaches and other commercial vehicles pay higher tolls. For an up-to-date look at current charges levied on the N6, check out Ireland’s National Roads Authority website.
Residents and long-term visitors can secure a discount by purchasing prepaid trips through the toll plaza in bulk or by fitting their vehicle with an electronic tag and registering an eToll account. The latter allows expedited passage through the toll plaza. However, tourists and short-term visitors will find it more practical to pay with exact change.