Varadkar Denies M50 Toll Hike

 Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has denied reports that tolls on Dublin’s M50 could be increased to up to €6.50 under plans to reduce congestion at peak times.

A study carried out by the National Roads Authority is recommending the introduction of ‘multi-point tolling’ along the Dublin motorway to reduce the demand from motorists making short trips.

The study has found that traffic volumes on the motorway around Dublin have grown by 26% since 2008, an unsustainable increase for already congested roads.

Five new toll points are being considered, which could raise in the region of €100m a year in revenue although where the diverted traffic might go and the impact it could have on suburban traffic volumes remains to be seen.

A study on the impact of the tolls will be presented to four local authorities in Dublin this morning.

The key areas highlighted in study are:

– Journey times are becoming less reliable and traffic is moving more slowly because so many vehicles are using the road.

– Motorists are being forced to queue to enter and exit the motorway at peak times.

– “Safe operational capacity” is being exceeded on some links at peak hours.

– A series of measures is needed to reduce traffic volumes, including varying the speed limit at certain sections and reducing the numbers coming on to the road at key times by having slower traffic signals at junctions.

– Five tolling points should also be introduced – between Ballymun and Finglas; the current point at Blanchardstown; between Clondalkin and Lucan; between Firhouse and Ballinteer; and between Sandyford and Carrickmines.

However in a statement this morning a spokesperson for Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said there are no plans to hike tolls on the M50 at this time and that any hike would have to meet his approval. Varadkar, who ruled out such price hikes 18 months ago added that this report was “just” a study and government policy would remain ensuring no price hikes take place .

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