Minister Varadkar officially opens N86 Road and Cycleway to Dingle

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has officially opened a newly upgraded section of the main road to Dingle, one of Ireland’s leading tourism towns.

Minister Varadkar opened the new section of the N86 road outside Annascaul which lies on the main Tralee to Dingle route, and which is used by thousands of local residents and thousands more tourists every year.

The project cost around €9 million and was funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. It was overseen by the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Kerry County Council and was completed in 18 months.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Varadkar said: ‘This is an important project for West Kerry and the whole county, and will make a big difference to journeys in the area. But it has also national significance, as thousands of tourists travel along the N86 every year in order to reach Dingle, one of our premier tourism destinations’.

“Although the old N86 had its charms, it was also very narrow, and the stretch which we have upgraded used to have a number of dangerous junctions leading on to side roads. These have now been replaced and will make a big difference to safety levels. The new road is wider at 3 metres, and also provides a hard shoulder in each direction. I’m also very pleased that we have been able to offer cycle and pedestrian facilities along this stretch.”

NRA Chief Executive Fred Barry said: ‘This pilot road scheme sets the standard for combining traditional road transport needs with built in accessibility for cyclist and pedestrians alike’.

In the longer term, the NRA is planning to upgrade the entire length of the N86 between Dingle in the west of the peninsula, and Camp on the northern side. This 27km project includes plans for cycle lanes, would be one of four proposed Tourist Route Pilot Schemes in Ireland. It would also considerably improve safety levels and journey times in West Kerry, and improve road surfaces in the villages of Lispole, Annascaul and Camp.