The M50 is to become Ireland’s first “managed motorway” under major changes set to be announced on Friday.
Controllers based in Dublin’s docklands will be able to set variable speed limits, close lanes, divert traffic off the motorway and clear lanes for emergency vehicles.
The changes come under a €50 million plan to tackle increasing traffic volumes, according to The Irish Times.
The “managed motorway” scheme will cost €30 million to run over the next decade, in addition to the €50 million set-up costs.
It will rely on almost 100 overhead gantries carrying 386 lane closure signals, with an additional 64 variable message signs and 45 CCTV cameras.
The scheme will be rolled out on a phased, incremental manner to allow road users, emergency responders and operators to familiarise themselves with the new digital signs.
It will begin this autumn with variable speed limits being displayed on overhead gantries, as guidance only, until motorists are familiar with the signs.
The first section to display the signs will be Junction 4, Ballymun, to Junction 6, Castleknock.
Early next year, additional phases will be introduced, with the extension of the signs from Castleknock to Junction 9, Red Cow.
By next summer, the scheme will cover the M50 as far as Firhouse, and by autumn 2022 it will reach Junction 14, Sandyford. The last phase will include Sandyford to the M11 and Junction 3 M1 to Ballymun.
The Road Safety Authority will roll out a public awareness campaign to make drivers aware of the introduction of the new speed signs on the M50 and why they are being introduced.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said the road facilitates the movement of up to €35 billion of goods each year, the movement of which must be actively managed to prevent costs in terms of delays and gridlock.