N3 road (Ireland)

N3 road shield}}

N3 road
Route information
Length: 129.21 km (80.29 mi)

(bypassed routes in italics)

Road network

The N3 road is a national primary road in Ireland, running between Dublin, Cavan and the border with County Fermanagh. The A509 and A46 roads in Northern Ireland form part of an overall route connecting to Enniskillen, and northwest to the border again where the N3 reappears to serve Ballyshannon in County Donegal.

Rush hour congestion between Navan and Dublin city was very heavy (up to 22,000 vehicles per day on single carriageway portions of the N3 in 2002), and problems occurred at most built-up areas between these points. A tolled motorway bypass replacement, the M3 motorway, was opened to traffic on the 4 June 2010.

The bypassed section from Clonee to the border with County Cavan has been reclassified as the R147 road.


The old N3, between Clonee and Dunshaughlin

The route, known as the Navan Road as it leaves Dublin, starts at a major junction with the M50 motorway and then bypasses Blanchardstown, Mulhuddart and Clonee with a dual carriageway. The dual carriageway changes into the M3 motorway near the Meath border by-passing Dunshaughlin and Navan. Near Kells the route continues as the N3 dual carriage way to the border with County Cavan. It then passes through Virginia, past Cavan Town and continues past Butlersbridge and through Belturbet. The route then crosses the border with Northern Ireland, becoming the A509 to Enniskillen. The A46 connects Enniskillen and the Donegal border, becoming the N3 across the border at Belleek, and connecting to Ballyshannon. In Ballyshannon certain road signs have destinations A46 Enniskillen with N3 Dublin with the requisite single arrow pointing in the same direction.

N3 upgrade

The National Roads Authority in conjunction with Cavan and Donegal County Councils plan major improvements to the N3 route in Ulster. It is currently planned that the Virginia bypass will be developed as 12.5 kilometres of type 2 dual carriageway ( known as 2+2). Type two dual carriageway has reduced width or no hard shoulders and also a reduced width median. This approach significantly cuts land acquisition costs.

A 6.7 kilometre bypass of the village of Belturbet in Co. Cavan was partially opened to traffic on August 2, 2013, and the entire section including a bridge over the River Erne was opened in December 2013.[1][2][3]

M3 motorway

M3 motorway shield}}

M3 motorway

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Route information
Part of
Length: 51 km (32 mi)
Existed: 2007 – present
History: Completed in 2010
Major junctions
To: Kells, County Meath
Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin, Navan, Kells
Road network

Part of the old N3 route has been bypassed by the construction of 51 kilometres of new motorway. This stretch of motorway, designated M3, was opened on 4 June 2010. The M3 begins near the end of the dual carriageway outside Clonee and terminates south west of Kells just before the N52.

The construction scheme did not terminate at this point as a new realigned N3 2+2 Non Motorway section continued from the end of the Motorway past Kells before terminating near the County Cavan border. The overall scheme also included the N52 Kells northern bypass. Since completion, the M3 now bypasses Dunshaughlin, Navan, and Kells along with Cavan which was bypassed much earlier.


The motorway was contested because the route passes near the Hill of Tara and through the archaeologically rich Tara-Skryne valley or Gabhra. The planned route corridor was approved by An Bord Pleanála (Ireland's planning appeals board) in August 2003.[4][5]

Motorway reclassification

On 30 September 2008, the Department of Transport announced the second round of proposed motorway reclassifications under the Roads Act 2007. A short section of the existing dual-carriageway N3 bypassing Clonee, from northwest of Mulhuddart to the start of the M3 toll motorway scheme, is affected by this. Following a public consultation process, on 10 July 2009 the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, made a Statutory Instrument reclassifying this section of the N3 as motorway effective from 28 August 2009.[6] It was the first section of M3 to come into being.

Motorway project details


(in planning)
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
M50 motorway : Dublin Port, Bray and all other routes (M50) M50 motorway : Dublin Port, Bray and all other routes (M50)
Blanchardstown Village, Ballycoolin No Exit
Blanchardstown Centre, Tyrrellstown, Mulhuddart Blanchardstown Centre, Tyrrellstown, Mulhuddart
Clonee, Damastown End of motorway
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
Start of motorway Clonee, Damastown
Pace Interchange: Dunboyne, Trim (R154), Ratoath (R155) Pace Interchange: Dunboyne, Trim (R154), Ratoath (R155)
Dunshaughlin, Kilcock Dunshaughlin, Kilcock
Skryne (R147), Johnstown Skryne (R147), Kilmessan
Navan (South) Navan (South)
Navan (North), Delvin, Athboy (N51) Navan (North), Delvin, Athboy (N51)
Kells N52 Kells N52
End of motorway Start of motorway
Northbound exit Junction Southbound exit
Drumbaragh (R163) Drumbaragh (R163)
Derver Derver
End of Dual Carriageway Start of Dual Carriageway

See also


  1. "Part of N3 Belturbet bypass opens". Northern Sound. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  2. "N3 Belturbet Bypass". National Roads Authority. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  3. "N3 Belturbet Bypass Complete with Opening of Bridge" (Press release). National Roads Authority. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  4. Eileen Battersby (26 May 2007). "Is nothing sacred?". The Irish Times.
  5. Glenn Frankel (22 January 2005). "In Ireland, Commuters vs. Kings". The Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  6. http://www.transport.ie/upload/general/10978-SI_255_OF_2009-0.PDF

External links

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