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17th Sep 2021

“Variable speed limits” to be introduced on the M50 in the coming weeks

Stephen Porzio

Ireland’s busiest motorway is to undergo some major changes.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has announced that “variable speed limits” will be introduced on the M50 in the coming weeks.

On Friday (17 September), the minister provided details regarding the launch of Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s enhancing motorway operation services (eMOS) programme, which will see the phased introduction of variable speed limits on the motorway.

Through the implementation of new digital signs, the eMOS programme will enable motorway operators to slow traffic in response to collisions, roadworks, adverse weather conditions and congestion.

In a statement, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said this will “enhance safeguards for emergency responders dealing with incidents on the M50 and keep road users better informed about incidents ahead and how they may affect their journey”.

“It optimises road safety, enhances the efficiency of the road, and improves journey time reliability by reducing the number of ‘stop and starts’ that take place along the M50 and the need for drivers to brake suddenly in response to standstill traffic,” TII added.

The programme is being rolled out in a phased manner, with the first digital signs being switched on between Junction 4 Ballymun and Junction 6 Castleknock in the coming weeks.

TII has said this phased approach will allow road users time to familiarise themselves with the new signs and adjust their driving behaviour accordingly in advance of the introduction of regulatory speed limits.

The system is expected to be fully deployed on the M50 by early 2023.

As part of the changes, TII and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) will roll out a public awareness campaign to make drivers aware of the new digital signs.

“In 2019, there were approximately 1,200 incidents on the M50, 525 of which were vehicle collisions,” Ryan said.

“With over 400,000 trips per day on the M50, reducing the adverse impact of future traffic growth on safety levels on this key strategic link is hugely important.

“By enabling motorway operators to react to events as they occur on the network, the eMOS programme will allow TII to deliver a more flexible, efficient and dynamic service, enhancing safety for road users, emergency responders and road workers.

“I’m asking every M50 road user to look out for the signs and to take the necessary action to keep themselves and others safe.”