Controversial motorway completed

A motorway which is expected to cut journey times by an hour between Co Cavan and Dublin has been completed two months ahead of schedule.

The M3 motorway through Co Meath has drawn its fair share of criticism and controversy as the route takes it past the historic Hill of Tara. The 60km (37-mile) toll scheme, which cost one billion euro (£833 million) will be opened by the Republic of Ireland's Transport Minister Noel Dempsey.

He hailed the road, which bypasses Kells, Dunshaughlin and Navan as one of the biggest road projects to open in Europe this year.

"It marks another major achievement in the Government's delivery of the most ambitious road programme in our history," he said.

"Above all, it will improve the quality of life for the people who travel on the M3 or who live in the towns that are now bypassed."

Campaigners and environmentalists battled unsuccessfully since 2003 to force the Government to re-route the motorway away from the land around Tara.

Around 1,800 people were employed in constructing the M3, with around 80 staff set to work at the its offices and toll plazas.

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