M47 Leinster Outer Orbital-M50

Could open : Status : No longer needed
M45 Motorway Logo


Motorway : 28.8 km

The original plan for the M50 C-ring motorway to the west of Dublin included a new-build motorway called the M7 which would have replaced the existing N7. This new motorway would have connected with the M50 between the existing N4 and N7 junctions. Since these are 7 and 9 respectively, the new junction's number would be 8.

The M50 is long since completed now and still there is a gap between junctions 7 and 9. The M7 now appears to be dropped, though it still appeared on development plans until relatively recently, as this example from 2004 shows.

Surrounding roads have seen big upgrades, too. The N4 has been 6-laned between the M50 and the start of the M4. The N7 has also seen 6-laning and a large number of grade-separated junctions completed between the M50 and the start of the M7. The Outer Ring Road north-south dual carriageway connects the N4 with the N7 and beyond. There has been extensive suburbanisation of the corridor the proposed M7 would have run through and remaining undeveloped land is earmarked for future communities. Pertinent also is the proposed Leinster Outer Orbital, referred to on this site as the M45, which will ring the city further west.

That said, the case for a new radial along the M7 route remains. The northwest of the city has 3 radial motorways or dual carriageways; the M1, the N2/M2, and the N3/M3. The M4 runs precisely west. However, the southwest of the city, despite leading to the nation's 2nd, 3rd, and 5th biggest cities (Cork, Limerick and Waterford respectively), has only the N7/M7 and the short N81 dual to show for itself. At least one more radial will be needed in the long term if the N7 and N81 are not to become completely saturated with traffic.

The M47 is a proposed motorway which would complement the N7 rather than replacing it. Starting at the missing Junction 8 site at the M50 and heading southwest, it would terminate at the M45, from where motorists could continue either north to join the M4 or south to join the M7 and M9 motorways. Traffic headed in the other direction (Dublin-bound) and approaching from the M4 or M7 could use the M45 to access the M47 and continue all the way to the M50 without having to negotiate the very busy M50 approaches on the N4 and N7 at Liffey Valley and Red Cow respectively.

The road would be 6-laned in order to adequately serve an alternative for both the 6-lane N4 and the 6-lane N7 roads. It is numbered 47 as it is between the N4 and N7 routes and 47 is an unused number.

There are considerable obstacles to this project. The assumption that the project is cancelled has resulted in its land space near the M50 being reallocated to urbanisation plans. These are centered around creating new communities flanked by the railway line to the north and the Grand Canal to the south. The only clear run for the road would be through this zone, which would place high-density neighbourhoods immediately next to a 6-lane motorway.

In addition, it is unclear if the resulting routing would be ideal from the point of view of distance. In particular for M7/M9 traffic, motorists approaching Dublin would have to drive two sides of a triangle (north up the Leinster Outer Orbital, east along the M47) instead of the more direct N7 routing. The road would not then reduce traffic on the N7 in particular by enough to make it worthwhile as a decongestion measure. The likelihood of this project coming to fruition is therefore low.

The only way to circumvent these problems would be to terminate the scheme at the Outer Ring Road here and omit the final leg to the M50. This would necessitate making the route a dual carriageway only as it would no longer be capable of handling motorway levels of traffic. A better place to terminate that completely avoids land earmarked for the future is on the new T-junction on this map. This would make the route a long extension of Nangor Road which passes through the industrial and residential areas of Clondalkin. This re-speccing of the road would make it a 21 km dual carriageway instead of a 29 km motorway.

Update October 2015: There are now plans to upgrade to motorway the whole of the N7 Naas Dual Carriageway from the M50 to Naas (source). Therefore, this scheme is no longer needed and the map has been removed.

Wikipedia page on this road (none - new route)


Origin M50, midway between Jct 7 and 9
Terminates M45, midway between M4 and M7
Places Served Clane, Celbridge, Lucan
Routes Spawned -
Intersects M45, M50


Please take a minute to answer a very short survey on your opinion of this road proposal.

JupiterKid from Ireland rates this scheme 2/10 and its alignment 4/10; and reckons the standard should be lower. He has the following comments to make:
"This proposal is overblown. The originally planned M7 should have been built along its corridor but now with the upgrade of the N7 is highly unlikely to ever happen.

Also, the proposed road cannot venture closer into the city from the M50, leaving potential traffic problems where it would meet with the M50."

Cathal from Ireland rates this scheme 5/10 and its alignment 8/10; and reckons the standard is about right. He has the following comments to make:
"Aside from the lack of funding, I can't see the political will for this road. It does seem that its only purpose would be to fix a numbering anomaly on the M50 junction numbering.

As a related issue if the M40 Dublin Outer Orbital Route is ever built (and it should, or at least plans should be made for when we have money again) that would relieve some of the traffic using the M50 as a link to other national routes. There is no point just sticking in a short motorway just for the sake of fixing the M50 numbering anomaly."

Anonymous from Ireland is a fan of the scheme and rates it 10/10 and its alignment 10/10. He reckons it should be an even higher spec: "10 lane motorway".

Motorway Genius rates this 10/10 on all counts and is happy with the spec: "A very good motorway, badly needed."
He provides a detailed list of proposed junctions:

J3-R130 [should be 136]

Note that this list closely matches the proposed route in the map below.

Tom from Ireland seems to think this is a great idea (rating it 8/10 and the alignment 7/10) and makes this detailed commentary. Note that he refers to this scheme as a "ring road" but it's actually a radial.
"The ring road is never going to happen now. It was planned for a long time that's why there's no Junction 8 on the M50, this was planned to be J8 with the M50. The N7 from Naas North (J9) to Newlands X WILL be upgraded to Motorway standard by 2030 as part of a European directive stating all EuroRoutes must be Motorway by then. That is being looked at presently. A series of other roads need to be upgraded/new-build to provide the alternative to motorway route. The M7 from Naas North (J9) to Junction 11 on the M7 is being upgraded to 3 lanes each direction. Statutory approval has been secured for this scheme as well as a new Junction 10 configuration."
I couldn't find anything on the web about the EU directive, which seems arbitrary and pointless - each road project should always be subjected to a separate cost-benefit analysis and some routes in areas of Europe with sparse population or difficult terrain will never require motorway. That said, I do propose in another scheme that the N7 from Newlands Cross to Naas should be upgraded due to its triple use as the main road to Limerick, Cork and Waterford. As for the J9 to J11 widening, this is expected to start around 2016.

Someone from Ireland rates this 7/10 and its alignment 7/10:
"Alternatively the leinster orbital route could cut across the N81 near Baltinglass and follow through to the south east coast road. The N81 should be upgraded to at least a dual carriageway by passing Blessington and taking out all bends and making this area of Co Wicklow more accessible to Dublin."

A site visitor really isn't into this idea, rating it 1/10 on both counts. They made these withering remarks:
"Should be lower spec - only [a] local R road that does not intercept M50 as M50 has too junctions already.
Too little proposal, far too late, and not needed."

Middle Man from Ireland reckons that
"M45 and M7 (Naas to Red Cow) should kill off this idea completely"
and rates it 1/10. "Not needed!" he continues.

Chris McGee from Ireland scores this 10/10:
"This is highly needed in Meath as it will give the area a major boost and take pressure off the Dublin commuter roads at peak times."

Someone from Ireland considers this to be "essential" and the alignment "excellent".
"Should be higher spec (6 lane, provision for 8). Start now before M50 comes to a halt."

MAP OF M47 :