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There's a new emergency plan on the way for the M50

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has the wheels well in motion towards a new emergency response plan for major incidents on Ireland’s busiest road.
Jan 13th 2016, 6:03 AM 36,657 47

12/2/2014. Car Crash Scene M50. Garda Traffic Twee Source:

IRELAND’S BUSIEST MOTORWAY, the M50 which encircles Dublin, is set for a revamp of its emergency procedures, put in place to deal with major accidents on the route.

Regular commuters will be familiar with the frequent delays seen at rush hour on the motorway as a result of major incidents.

These delays are often a result of the support network of local roads as much as the motorway itself, a Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) spokesman explained to

Now a revamp of the motorway’s emergency plan is on the way.

The TII, together with the emergency services and local authorities, is taking a three-pronged approach to the problem:

  • Preparation of a new emergency plan
  • Establishment of a co-ordination group between the likes of the gardaí, ambulance services, motorway tow-trucks, and the local authorities
  • Permanently signed diversions to be installed in the event of the motorway being closed

Minor incidents

The crux of the new plan will be to ensure the road runs as well during an emergency as it does during the “countless” minor incidents seen on a day-to-day basis.

“Many of the new measures have actually been in place for some months,” Seán O’Neill of the TII told

18/3/2008. Car Crashes on M50 Motorways

We already have live event management on the network, and have had emergency teams positioned at four strategic locations, two in the south and two in the north, for some months now.

O’Neill says that many incidents on the M50 are currently dealt with “strategically and quickly”.

“These are incidents that happen daily, people bumping off each other, and they’re dealt with efficiently. People don’t recognise that because they’re handled so well,” he says.

Traffic volumes

It is true that the sheer volume of traffic on the M50 is staggering, far in excess of what was expected when it was initially opened in 1990.

The motorway’s traffic counters average recording 370,000 unique journeys (ie trips that span two to three junctions) on the network daily, an enormous figure by any standard.

“It’s the serious incidents that we’re looking at now,” says O’Neill.

The TII are currently evaluating and reworking the best emergency routes for first responders in the event of a major accident.

“The problem is with the local roads – and any local impact will be felt on the M50,” O’Neill says.

We are identifying alternative routes for emergencies – the challenge with the M50 is that during an emergency the alternative routes simply don’t have the capacity that is required at present.

The TII are co-ordinating with the local authorities, the gardaí, and the emergency services with a view to having the new emergency plan within the next few months.

“Notwithstanding the fact that some elements have already gone live, the plan won’t be finalised until all parties agree,” O’Neill cautioned.

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Cianan Brennan


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