POTENTIAL FUTURE MOTORWAYS
Some new motorways are quite likely to be created in the near future; others are strongly dependent on continuing high spending on roads and commitment to creating new high-quality routes. The following discussion starts with the likely schemes.
The following was written in 2008:
Because of the arrangement of the future N10/M9 junction east of Kilkenny, it looks like the N10 at the junction maylead inescapably
to the M9. If this is the case, then the eastern part of the N10 at least will have to be put under motorway regulations. This would create a short M10 - though it would be a single carriageway. At the time of writing, it still isn't clear whether this issue has been resolved. A potential solution would be to add an at-grade roundabout immediately west of the junction as a termination point for the ramps. Then the road west of there could remain N10.
Update in March 2011:
The M9 was completed in 2010. As predicted, the N10/M10 issue was resolved (fudged is a better word) by putting an at-grade roundabout right after the junction.
At Adare southwest of Limerick, the future M20 will gore with M20 continuing south and the N21 heading southwest towards Kerry. The current N20 has already been upgraded with a TOTSO
at the 20/21 junction. When the future M20 between Cork and Limerick is built, according to the latest maps, the new N21 Adare Bypass will be an integral part of the scheme and will flow off the M20 which would create a section of M21. This would continue for 6 or 7 km before terminating at the existing N21 west of Adare.
Southwest of Cork, the current N22 Ballincollig bypass is a HQDC that opened in September 2004. If planned extensions of this standard to the west are completed, together with the N22 Cork Northern Ring Road, it could be worthwhile redesignating the lot to M22. This could be done in conjunction with a changeover for the N25 Cork South Ring to M25.
Update in March 2012:
In February 2012, the Cork Southern Ring segment of the N25 was renumbered
N40. It is now the intention to make the future Cork Northern Ring another part of the N40. Therefore if the above N22 redesignation ever occurs, it will not include the Cork Northern Ring.
The provision of a high quality route between Cork and Waterford is a medium term goal and a number of dual carriageway projects are slated for this area. There is scope for changing some of this to motorway status. In particular, the Cork-Midleton route is due for grade separation in the near future and, together with an eastern extension to Youghal ("Yawl"), a motorway could be created from east Cork to Youghal. This would be M25.
Although no motorways are planned for the N24 Limerick-Waterford road, it is possible that schemes at either end, being joined to motorways, may themselves get the blue signs too since it is preferable to connect motorway to motorway due to the high volumes of traffic involved.
An upgrade of the N28 route in Cork which connects the city to the major industrial area of Ringaskiddy has been in the works for a long time now. Since this will be to HQDC standard and connects with the N25 South Ring which could be redesignated motorway in the future, it is possible that the N28 could become M28.
Update in October 2015:
It has been confirmed that the N28 will in fact be developed as a motorway. It now has its own page
Finally, there is the M32 - an anomaly created in the 1993 when the Northern Cross section of the M50 was constructed. The N32 was a single carriageway road constructed east in a straight line from the M50/M1 junction southeast of Dublin Airport. However, the section that accessed the junction was technically a motorway road. A motorist could have used the roundabout to come back the same way, but there was no through route that didn't lead to a motorway. The conclusion is that this short section of single carriageway at this location is actually a motorway. It is so short and of such dubious motorway quality that it belongs on this
site - though they thought as much too and gave it its own page
Update in March 2012:
In February 2012, the N32 was detrunked
and the number deassigned. According to OpenStreetMap, the road is now R139. The M32 motorway part is now also gone as the M1 and M50 freeflow with each other and the old roundabout was only used by the N32.