N25 Waterford Bypass

This project was included in the announcement of pilot projects on 1st June 1999.The project consists of a N25 bypass of Waterford City. The project includes a new river crossing, a cable stay bridge with an overall length of approximately 475 m, of the River Suir in the vicinity of Grannagh, i.e. close to the location of the existing N24/N9 Junction to the North West of Waterford City. The bypass commences in the vicinity of Kilmeaden to the West of the City, crosses the River Suir at Grannagh and ties in with the existing N25 to the East of Slieverue Village. The project includes a new connection, known as the Western Link, which connects the By-Pass to industrial areas to the South West of the City and links of the N9 and N24 to the Grannagh Interchange. The scheme construction includes approximately 23 km of dual carriageway and 14 km of single carriageway.

During the course of pre-contract archaeological testing undertaken on the scheme a significant at an archaeological site known as - the "Woodstown Site" was discovered along the route corridor. The site was declared a national monument and the minister for the Environmant, Heritage and Local Government issued archaeological directions providing for the site to be preserved. This necessitated a revised alignment for a section of the route.

The Woodstown site appears to represent a defended, riverside settlement, with associated industrial activity. The artifacts and the radiocarbon dates taken together confirm the site most likely dates to the early Medieval period c. 9th century to early 12th century AD. Indications are that the Norse possibly used an existing settlement of native Irish origin. The site was discovered during the course of pre-contract archaeological testing undertaken on the scheme. 

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government issued archaeological directions for the Woodstown site on the 11th May 2005. The Minister's directions provide that the archaeological site is to be preserved and this necessitates a revised alignment for a section of the route.


Contract Award DateContract Awarded toPPP TypeGovernment ProgrammeStatus
April 2006 Celtic Roads Group Concession National Development Plan 2000 - 2006 Opened 2005

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Financial Aspects of the N25 Waterford City By-Pass PPP Contract

Concession Company

The Celtic Roads Group (Waterford) Ltd. consortium comprises Dragados (a Spanish company), NTR, and Royal BAM (Ascon).

Duties and obligations of the Concession Company

The scheme comprised of the construction of an N25 by-pass extending from Kilmeaden in Co. Waterford to Slieverue in Co. Kilkenny. The route crosses the River Suir at Grannagh thus providing Waterford with a second major bridge over the Suir and allowing traffic on the N25 Cork–Rosslare route to bypass the city.

The scheme comprises approximately 23 km of dual carriageway, a Suir bridge of approximately 475 m length and approximately 4 km of single carriageway construction. There is an additional 11 km of side roads and tie–ins and a 2 km railway realignment (narrow gauge excluding trackworks) in the area of the western link junction. Two grade separated junctions and two at-grade roundabouts are included in the main by-pass. A further five at-grade roundabouts are included in the link roads.

The new Suir Bridge is a distinctive and impressive structure. It is a cable stayed bridge with a light and elegant design complementing the river and the surrounding landscape and will be the second structure of this type on the national road network. The highly impressive Boyne Bridge at Drogheda, which opened in June, 2003 was the first such cable stayed bridge and received widespread commendation.

Celtic Roads Group is required to carry to undertake the following tasks:

  • Design
    • Complete the full detailed design of all elements;
    • Carry out necessary structures assessments at various stages throughout the concession period.
  • Build
    • Construct all the works;
    • Assume responsibility for ground conditions, archaeological monitoring and resolution, utility relocations and, landscaping.
  • Maintain
    • Maintain the road pavement, structures, landscaping, signs, lining, lighting, safety barriers, fencing and all other aspects of the road;
    • Carry out comprehensive winter maintenance including patrols, precautionary salting, and snow clearance.
  • Operate
    • Manage the road in terms of safety, traffic management, information to the road user, oil spillage, accidents;
    • Operate the tolling system to the required levels of service and upgrade it as necessary to match demand;
  • Re-invest
    • Prior to handback to the public sector at the end of the concession, upgrade all the facilities as necessary (e.g. road re-sufacing, re-lining) in order to provide the required residual life for the road.
    • In regard to the road structure, the concessionaire is to hand it back with a further 10 year life before any structural strengthening would be required.
  • Finance
    • Raise finances for the scheme and take the responsibility for all the repayments;
    • Carry the risk of cost over-runs.

Period of Concession

The contract was signed on the 21st April 2006 and will extend for 30 years from that date. The construction was anticipated to take approximately 4 years and Celtic Roads Group will be responsible for collection of tolls for a period of approximately 26 years.

Cost of the project

The Authority estimates that if it were to undertake itself all the design, construction, maintenance, operation and re-investment tasks that are being required of Celtic Roads Group the cost would be in the order of €600m (excluding land and preliminary design costs) in 2006 values.

The Authority estimates that the cost of land, preliminary studies/design necessary to identify the route, preparation of the statutory documents (Motorway scheme and Environmental Impact Statement), advance ground investigation, initial archaeological testing and resolution, and supervision of its construction will amount to approximately €160m. These costs apply irrespective of the contractual means that could be employed for the delivery of the scheme.

Celtic Roads Group’s Financing

Celtic Roads Group is investing substantial funding into this project by means of equity from the companies included in the consortium. The majority of the funding is debt funding and Celtic Roads Group has arranged funding from two sources:

  • Two banks – Banco Santander Central Hispano, and BBVA; and
  • European Investment Bank – a bank owned by the member states of the European Union which invests in necessary EU infrastructure.

Celtic Roads Group is the party responsible for the repayment of these debts.

Payments from the Authority to Celtic Roads Group

The Authority’s payments to Celtic Roads Group are fixed and consist of payments of €99m NPV over the period of the construction, released on satisfactory completion of key construction elements, and €62m NPV during the period of operation. (Note: Operational payments are subject to indexation in line with the consumer price index.)

Payments from Celtic Roads Group to the Authority

Celtic Roads Group will pay a share to the Authority, dependent on the level of traffic on the road, of the toll revenues collected. Without divulging full details due to the commercial sensitivity of the exact proposal, the Authority anticipates that this revenue share will be a substantial amount of money that will part repay the subvention payments that the Authority will have made and will be payable during the period of the concession.

Payments from Celtic Roads Group to the State

In addition to the revenue share that it will pay to the Authority, Celtic Roads Group will be obliged to make the following payments:

  • Commercial rates: In accordance with the Valuation Act 2001, Celtic Roads Group will be the occupier of a rateable property due to its operation of the toll facilities. Celtic Roads Group will be required, dependent on the traffic volumes and calculated in accordance with a methodology set out by the Valuation Office, to pay rates to Waterford City Council, Waterford County Council and Kilkenny County Council, the local authorities through whose administrative area the road passes.
  • Corporation Tax
  • VAT on non-recoverable receipts.

Summary Overview

For infrastructure with an estimated cost of €600m, excluding land/planning/preparatory design costs, the State will pay €99m (excluding land/preparatory costs) throughout the 4 year construction period along with a further €62m during the operational period. The State will recoup monies by means of revenue share, rates and taxes.