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Monday, September 21, 2009

Contentious M3 is 90% complete, says NRA


THE CONTROVERSIAL M3 motorway in Co Meath, which has been the subject of several years of protests, is now almost 90 per cent complete, the National Roads Authority (NRA) has said.

At almost 60km of main motorway and a further 40km of link roads and interchanges, the it is one of the longest motorways under construction in Europe.

The M3 is not scheduled to open until July 2010. Work could still finish ahead of this scheduled date, but not before mid-spring next year, the NRA said.

Beginning at Clonee, north of the Dublin-Meath border, it runs to Kells where it switches to a motorway-grade dual carriageway for the last 10km to the Cavan border. It will have two toll booths, charging €1.40 for cars. Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells are bypassed along the route.

Controversially, the route runs just over 2km from the Hill of Tara, and adjacent to the Lismullin national monument and the hill fort of Rath Lugh.

Protesters have occupied these latter two sites, blocking the road’s construction at various times in recent years, most memorably in March last year when conservationist Lisa Feeney, known as “Squeak” shut herself inside a chamber at the bottom of a 33-foot tunnel at Rath Lugh for 60 hours.

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