Contracts for the first Public Private Partnership road contract since 2007 were signed today in what Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar described as a milestone in Ireland’s economic recovery.
The Government has signed a contract with a consortium to construct the €282 million project to remove the bottleneck at Newlands Cross on the N7 Limerick/Cork/Waterford Road in Dublin, and upgrade the N11 between Arklow and Rathnew to a four lane dual carriageway.
This is the first transport Public Private Partnership to be signed since the economy ran into trouble in 2007 and shows that Irish transport agencies can once again raise private finance to invest in crucial transport infrastructure. The two projects have been bundled together into a single contract.
The Newlands Cross Fly-over will remove the last traffic light between Cork, Limerick, Waterford and the border with Northern Ireland. Some 80,000 vehicles pass through Newlands Cross every day and the project will provide welcome relief to commuters, as well as those on longer journeys.
The N11 upgrade will improve road safety on a notoriously dangerous stretch of road and will also include the first on-line service station on the N11, at Gorey. The entire project is due to be completed within two years and on-site works are expected to begin within weeks.
“It’s great to be able to confirm that all systems are go for the upgrading of Newlands Cross, and of the N11 between Rathnew and Arklow. These projects will make a huge difference to road users and will finally remove two bottlenecks which were not addressed during the boom. The N11 will improve safety standards the minute it’s opened, while the Newlands Cross fly-over will remove the last traffic light between Cork, Limerick and Waterford and the border,” Minister Varadkar said.
Funding of more than €150 million has been provided under a Public Private Partnership including a major funding provision from the European Investment Bank and Bank of Ireland, and a stand-by credit facility from the National Pension Reserve Fund.
The EIB also signalled this week that it has agreed in principle to fund the N17-18 Gort-Tuam link road. President Hoyer confirmed it will now be considering applications for funding the N25 New Ross bypass and the M11 Gorey-Enniscorthy roads. These three projects are part of the Government’s stimulus package announced last year.
EIB President Werner Hoyer said: “The European Investment Bank recognises the potential for unlocking economic growth in Ireland through improved transport connections and we are pleased to provide €75 million to support the N11 road project. As Ireland’s first transport PPP project in recent years this marks a turning point in financing crucial investment in Irish roads.”
Cormac O’Rourke, Chairman of the National Roads Authority stated: “We are very pleased that in just over two years’ time there will be 80km of continual motorway/dual carriageway from Dublin to just south of Gorey which will improve driver safety and travel times along the N11/M11 route. In addition, this Public Private Partnership will remove the last remaining traffic light along the N7/M7 corridor at Newlands Cross.”
Fred Barry, CEO National Roads Authority said: “We are back in business. The signing of this PPP is the result of an intensive effort over a six year period to restart the upgrading and improvements across the National Road Network. I would like to acknowledge the effort put forth by all those involved and look forward to the completion of this scheme which will enhance national motorway connectivity.”
The contract has been signed with BAM PPP PGGM Infrastructure Cooperatie, BAM’s investment joint venture with Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM, together with BAM Contractors.
Commenting Tom Hayes, Chief Executive Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking said: “The provision of the debt funding for the project, alongside the EIB, highlights our continued commitment to the domestic PPP market. It brings our funding commitments to the Irish infrastructure market in recent years to approximately €500 million.”