To those of you who have not been watching the news, or reading the papers, Bertie’s Hole is now open.
Bertie’s Hole is a new tunnel that links the port, in the centre of Dublin with the ring motorway. The idea is to remove heavy lorries from our city streets.
So far, so good.
We’ll ignore the trivial little problems, like the fact that it isn’t high enough to take the bigger lorries, or that it floods.
We will look at the logistics.
In their wisdom, the planners drove the tunnel North to link up with the M1 and then the M50 [the ring road].
There is only one major city to the north of Dublin, and that is Belfast.
The other major cites, like Galway, Limerick, Cork, Waterford and Wexford all lie to the west , south west and south.
So any lorry heading for [say] Cork, has to head north ’til it reaches the ring road and then head anti-clockwise all the way around the city to reach the Cork road.
This is a distance of 16 miles, and it includes an expensive toll bridge and a major stretch of motorway that is being rebuilt. In other words, it it very slow and very expensive.
The alternative is to take the direct route through the city, along the quays which involves a bit of traffic, but you miss out on the roadworks and the toll bridge. That is a distance of 7 miles.
If you are heading south to Waterford or Wexford, the difference in the distances is a lot worse
Which route would you take? Which route do you think the lorries are taking?
And the city planners are completely baffled as to why the lorries aren’t using Bertie’s Hole.
“But we built yiz a lovely tunnel. It cost us €750,000,000. Why aren’t you using it? The fellas going to Belfast say it’s great, but the rest of yiz keep driving through the city. Why?”
And the truckers reply with their usual eloquence
“F*ck off. We don’t like the extra distance or the tolls or the motorway delays!”
So the Irish Government does what it always does – it passes a law. From February the 19th, it will be illegal to drive a lorry through the city.
That is when the fun begins…