||Could open : 2030||Status : Uncommitted|
Dublin has three radial routes in its northwestern quadrant. The M1 makes its way north up to Northern Ireland and Belfast. The M3 snakes northwest up to Navan, the western extremity of Northern Ireland and finally Donegal. The N2, with a short stretch of M2 near Dublin, is the Dublin to Derry/Londonderry road. For much of the N2's length within the Republic, it runs very close to the M1, and at times is really just a parallel alternate route.
The road carries significant levels of truck traffic (8-12%), reflecting its status as a major trunk road. Although this is to be expected, the N2 is somewhat unusual in that this high truck traffic level isn't matched by the level of general traffic - apart from either end, the route connects nothing but small towns and villages and cars are relatively few compared to any another single-digit national highway in Ireland - well below 10,000 per day.
This high level of HGV activity means that the road is in major need of upgrading for the sake of the safety of all who live alongside it. The obvious problem is that it wouldn't be justifiable to dual it or build a motorway due to the proximity of the nearby M1 and M3 motorways.
The proposal therefore is to divert the M2 north of Ashbourne northeast to the M1 at Drogheda, where traffic would follow this route up to Dundalk where a new road proposed elsewhere in this section would take it back west to rejoin the existing route. The intermediate N2 section would be downgraded to Regional Road status.
These changes do not remove the need for some minor bypasses. Slane, Ardee and possibly Collon will need short single or dual carriageway diversions. At the time of writing, the Slane Bypass was being progressed through the planning system, but with difficulty.
Update 2019: The recently announced scheme, Ashbourne to Kilmoon Cross, shows that the government's plan is to continue the N2 north. This has implications for the scheme outlined here, as a more northerly connection point would then be needed.
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|Origin||M2, north of Ashbourne|
|Terminates||M1, south of Drogheda|