My life on the M50

I share an experience with just about every other Dubliner, and with the many visitors to the capital – the experience of driving, stopping, cursing, palpitating, shivering, fainting and just giving up on the M50. I remember when the first stretch of the M50 North of the Westlink bridge was opened, going only as far as Blanchardstown. The next phases were under construction, and as I crossed over one such building site once in a taxi on the way to Dublin airport, the driver remarked that ‘it would be nice if they weren’t just working on this in their spare time’.

A few years later the M50 was open all the way to Dublin airport, and for a brief moment, it seemed wonderfully easy to drive from West Dublin to catch a flight. And then it all went sour. The four-lane highway (two lanes on each side) was completely unable to handle the volume of traffic. Try to drive there at any time outside of Sunday night and you were likely to be in a queue. If any accident happened, or if there was any trouble at the toll plaza, or for no reason whatsoever, the traffic built up and stopped.

And now we are back at the construction phase, and the uncertainties of barrier free tolling, the latter being as mysterious as anything thought up by St Thomas Acquinas, with the same tussle between eternal salvation and damnation. New lanes are being built, but to a schedule that seems to envisage completion years, rather than months, from now. And it is still easy to drive along the construction sites and find that nobody is there or working. Why, for example, does construction stop over the weekend?

As far as I know, the M50 is the only motorway/freeway in the world with its own website. In many ways that is most appropriate, as it has become such an important part of the collective Irish consciousness. And yet, I would love to spend less time on it, so that I can lead my life where it is more enjoyable and more profitable. I hope that the day when I can do that is dawning. But I doubt it.

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2 Comments on “My life on the M50”

  1. John Flood Says:

    It’s going to be similar to tuition fees for students, isn’t it? Road pricing is going to be the solution. Or you could be creative as they are in San Jose in Costa Rica where vehicles are only permitted into the centre on certain days according to the licence plate number. So for the M50 you could have:

    Monday: plate ending 1 & 2
    Tuesday: 3 & 4
    Wednesday: 5 & 6
    Thursday: 7 & 8
    Friday: 9 & 0
    Sat/Sun: free for all.

    Happy motoring!

  2. Bumperbell Says:

    My question, before the M50 was designed why did the organisers not pay a visit to the M25, the main artery in the UK. Build the maximum lanes to start with. Was it possibly an exercise to ensure the company stayed in business. We built the M50, oh goodnesw we need another lane to ensure it works. Here we are in 2008 and toll bridge gone, extra lane on other side and bumph (not literally) it works. But now Finglas is the roadwork, I hear until 2010. At this rate I will have been born, lived and died and the M50 will still not be complete………..

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