Final stretch of M9 motorway opened
The final 40km stretch of a motorway that will cut journey times between Dublin and Waterford has been unveiled.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey has officially opened the new section of the M9 that links Carlow and Knocktopher by travelling in a vintage car.
It is estimated it will now take approximately 90 minutes to travel from Dublin's M50 to Waterford City.
Mr Dempsey said the road will prove vital in assisting local, national and international competitiveness.
"As always, it is very important to acknowledge the major road safety improvements that go hand in hand with all the new motorways opened over the last few years and the significant time savings and efficiency created with a new inter-urban motorway network," he added.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) said the scheme came in on budget at 467 million euro and three months ahead of schedule.
It also claimed it will remove unnecessary through traffic from Stoneyford, Knocktopher, Kilkenny City, Paulstown, Gowran, Dungarvan and Thomastown - giving the communities back their respective village, town and city centres.
Peter Malone, NRA chairman, said the M9 provides a high quality link between Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford.
"Overall, it will improve road safety, increase business opportunities and attract a wider audience to come and see for themselves the offerings on hand from the entire tourism industry throughout the region," he said.
"The transformation of road infrastructure throughout Ireland over last few years is historic in proportion and will offer a significant return on investment for generations to come," he said. "The National Roads Authority is one step closer in delivering a fully functioning modern motorway network for the benefit of the entire country."