Opening of the M7/M8 Portlaoise four months ahead of schedule. The project includes a 367-million Euro budget and a 30-year concession period.
The CRG Portlaoise Concessionary, with 33.3% IRIDIUM participation, commenced operations on the 28th of May of the 41-kilometre M7/M8 Portlaoise - Cullahill/Castletown concession, which forms part of the main corridor joining the cities of Dublin and Cork. The Prime Minister and the President of the National Roads Authority were present at the motorway opening ceremony, together with other dignitaries.
The inaugurated section is the last one along the MIU (Major Interurban Corridor), which joins the cities of Dublin and Cork, reducing the travelling time between the two by some forty minutes and includes a section connecting Dublin with Limerick.
The consortium, in which Dragados and BAM participated with 50%, executed the works design and construction. To the 41 kilometres of motorway forming the main trunk of the works, with its 46 structures, three junctions and the connection to the M7 with the M8 in Aghaboe, must be added another eighteen kilometres of highway within the motorway┬ĺs area of influence. The operation was executed from a toll trunk station at Fathernagh, which incorporates TAG payment system technology.
The concession contract, which is for thirty years, was signed in June 2007 and the construction was executed in less than three years and was completed four months ahead of schedule. The total investment came to 296 million Euros. The project was financed by a non-recourse debt from the European Investment Bank and a group of banks that included the Bank of Ireland, Société Generale and ING.