Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Navigating the new N3/M50 junction

The new M3/M50 junction is a truly impressive feat of engineering. However, it is very complicated to navigate through it. As you approach heading towards town along the N3 there are pretty clear signs showing you how to navigate straight on into town or to take the M50 North or South. Unfortunately the signs are not as clear for local traffic which wants to get off the Motorways and into either Castleknock or Blanchardstown Village. The traffic can be quite heavy so if you are not in the correct lane you might not be able to change. Therefore I thought it might be useful to write up instructions for both of these options.

None of the major commercial on-line maps have yet been updated to reflect the new junction layout, so Open Street Map is the only one with accurate information. You can see the picture of the junction below (click here to see a live zoomable version)


If you want to get to Blanchardstown Village you need to follow these steps:
  1. Stay in the leftmost lane as you approach the junction (it will be marked for Blanchardstown Village and some of the signs also have Blanchardsown Hospital poorly crossed out).
  2. As you enter the ramp left you will see traffic lights and a left turn for Blanchardstown Hospital, but you keep going straight. At the time of writing the traffic lights are not in operation and the road to the Hospital is blocked off, but the road looks nearly ready to open so when you go there it may well be in use.
  3. The Ramp road will swing right and bring you across the main line of traffic. Immediately after you pass Total Fitness on your left you will come to a T-junction with traffic lights.
  4. Turn right at the lights and about 50 meters later you will come to another set of traffic lights where you need to turn left.
  5. After this turn you just keep going straight and you will come to Blanchardstown Village.
If you want to get to Castleknock village you will need to follow even more complex instructions although you initially start out the same:
  1. Stay in the leftmost lane as you approach the junction (it will be marked for Blanchardstown Village and some of the signs also have Blanchardsown Hospital poorly crossed out).
  2. As you enter the ramp left you will see traffic lights and a left turn for Blanchardstown Hospital, but you keep going straight. At the time of writing the traffic lights are not in operation and the road to the Hospital is blocked off, but the road looks nearly ready to open so when you go there it may well be in use.
  3. The Ramp road will swing right and bring you across the main line of traffic. Immediately after you pass Total Fitness on your left you will come to a T-junction with traffic lights.
  4. Turn left at the lights and about 50 meters later you will come onto the remains of the old roundabout. 
  5. You don't get off at the first exit, but instead you get off at the second exit (which has traffic lights).
  6. Immediately after you exit the roundabout the road divides and you will need to keep to the left fork (it is signed for Castleknock Village, but not very prominently)
  7. This road will bring you under three roads and then will end at a T-Junction with traffic lights
  8. At the junction turn right onto the Dunsink Road.
  9. After about 20 meters you will come to a major traffic light controlled junction with the N3.
  10. You go straight through this junction and you will be on Auburn Avenue which will bring you into Castleknock Village (you may decide to stop off in Myo's pub for a drink to steady your nerves at this stage).
This picture illustrates the journey from step 3 onwards.

Although the junction is now much more tricky I am not really complaining. It was straight forward to navigate either of these options before the upgrade - in both cases you simply took the third exit of the clearly marked roundabout. However, during peak rush hour you would need to queue for anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours to get through, so the complexity of the new junction is well worth it in terms of saved time.

4 comments:

  1. Which direction are you coming from ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. These directions to people approaching the junction from the East - i.e. heading towards town. The directions for people coming from town are much more straight forward because it is a simple left turn off the main road.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When your coming in from the Navan side, it's a bit odd, as there are signposts over the road indicating which lane you should be in (with arrows pointing down) for 4 lanes, but there are only 3 lanes on the road.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Emmet - saying that the signage is odd counts as an understatement. I was going to include mention of the signs in my blog but I couldn't think of a way of getting pictures to illustrate my point without risking my life.

    ReplyDelete