M7 Outer Ring Road-Naas

Could open : 2030 Status : In Planning (as of 2015)
M7 Motorway Logo


Upgrade to Motorway : 16.6 km

The N7 between Dublin and Naas, known locally as the Naas Dual Carriageway, was extensively upgraded in 2006. It was widened to 6 lanes and had 4 new junctions added. Most local access was also closed off. However, the job was not completed, with quite a number of such accesses still remaining. Considering this is such an important road, with such high traffic volumes and so close to Dublin, it is imperative that the section is eventually upgraded to motorway.

It is odd that the N7 runs from the M50 to Naas as a 6-lane grade separated dual carriageway, and the motorway only begins south of that along a winding route with poorer sightlines and width than the dual carriageway. Of course, the motorway at Naas should be widened too, but the non-motorway part is in need of significant enhancement. A large number of alterations would be necessary to bring the motorway standard from Naas as far as the R136 Outer Ring Road. Further in from there, although the whole road was grade separated by early 2015 with the opening of the Newlands Cross junction, there is still frontage, bicycle and pedestrian access, as well as bus lanes and bus stops. The main work required to achieve an upgrade of Naas-Outer Ring would be completion of frontage roads to the north and south which currently only run from Naas to Blackhill. This map indicates the route of the southern parallel road. Between Blackhill and the Outer Ring Road, the road is missing, as is nearly all of its northern counterpart. Although it is possible to continue using an existing road, this is a very narrow profile country lane and completely unsuitable for the purpose.

A lot of changes would be needed to implement this N7 upgrade:

- Widening of the road from Blackhill to Rathcoole. The road was pieced together from country lanes;
- Building a northern frontage road for nearly the whole route;
- Closure of a large number of direct accesses to the road, particularly between junction 4 at Rathcoole and junction 5;
- Construction of the proposed Rathcoole outer distributor road, to facilitate frontage access closures in the vicinity;
- Provision of the future grade separated junction at the oddly named Tootenhill, beside Rathcoole;
- Reconstruction of the loops in the Citywest interchange (Jct 3) and the new (2006) junctions 5 and 6. Junction 9 at Naas was not built as part of the upgrade but back in 1983, and will also require changes. These loops are too tight, which is especially noticeable when compared to the Outer Ring Road interchange, which was built on a much larger scale.

The South County Dublin Draft Development Plan 2010-2016 mentions these last two. The Tootenhill interchange will be known as Keating's Park and is item 61 on page 271. Only the northbound onramp of the Citywest interchange will be modified, however.

In the below map, yellow roads are regional (not part of the proposed motorway), blue indicates the route of the motorway and new ramps and other proposed parts of it, and red indicates access closures. Down to the southwest, the segment of existing motorway proposed to be widened to 6 lanes is shown in purple.

Wikipedia page on this road


Origin Outer Ring Road, southwest of Dublin
Terminates M7 Junction 9, east of Naas
Places Served -
Routes Spawned N82
Intersects -


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

MOTORWAY GENIUS from Ireland rates this scheme 10/10 and its alignment 6/10; and reckons the standard is about right. He has the following comment to make:
"A common mistake is that the M2/M3/M4/M7 are downgraded to 3+3's and 'N' roads. I think they should continue as motorway standard until the M50."

Another Irish person rates this 10/10 and the alignment 8/10 but reckons it should be higher spec:
"Exit lanes should be made longer, especially at rathcoole.
It is a joke that this road is dual carriageway and speed is limited to 100km/h when the standard is better than many motorways with speed of 120km/h."

Someone from Ireland rates this scheme 10/10 and its alignment 8/10; and considers the standard to be about right. They have the following comment to make:
"No matter what the main traffic build up is always at the ring road around Naas. 3 into 2 doesnt go! 3 lanes of a National Road into a 2 lane Motorway doesn't make any sense and needs to be addressed first and the rest can be done after. This can be done easily as there is the room on the road and should have little impact."

Someone from the USA is a big fan: rating this 10/10 on both counts but thinks the spec should be even higher than 6-lane motorway.