M7/M8 Portlaoise Motorway

The M7/M8 Portlaoise Motorway project involved the provision of 41 km of standard two-lane motorway, approximately 3 km of single carriageway link roads, approximately 15 km of side roads, three grade separated junctions, 48 new structures, and a motorway to motorway interchange forming part of the N7 Dublin to Limerick route and the N8 Dublin to Cork route.

The 41 km M7/M8 Portlaoise to Culahill/Castletown PPP Motorway Scheme completes the M8 motorway link from Dublin to Cork, bypassing Abbeyleix, Durrow, and Cullahill. 

It also includes a significant section of the M7 motorway link between Dublin and Limerick bypassing the towns of Mountrath, Castletown and Borris-in-Ossory.

Running from the western end of the existing Portlaoise bypass, the scheme’s toll plaza is located at Fatharnagh, Portlaoise, approximately 4 km along the route.

SPV General Manager Lorcan Wood explains the significance of the project, one of the key elements of Ireland’s road network.

"There were numerous innovations on the project. One was the development of a particularly difficult earthworks cut and fill balance by the CJV and the on-site management of significant volumes of excavated peat, which was very weather susceptible. This required continual surveying and updating almost on a daily basis."

Other innovations included:

  • the design and installation of thin pavement technology on the main carriageway; and
  • the specifying, design, installation, commissioning, and operating of both hard tolling and state-of-the-art soft tolling technology were also used as part of the scheme.

Challenges included:

  • traffic revenue risk and traffic modelling;
  • hard and electronic tolling;
  • operation of a complex joint venture partnership; and
  • co-ordination of the Construction JV and the O&M JV.