M9 Motorway Opened… About Time Too

The M9 Motorway opened today from Danesfort to Waterford and on my journey from Thomastown to Waterford City I saved 12 minutes on the journey which will save me 2 hours a week going to work.

The road was a longer route than the normal N9 via Mullinvat but doing 120kph and also not having to put up with trucks, tractors and 60kph Sunday Drivers was a blessing.

RTE Covered the opening today : http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0322/m9.html

The next section from Danesfort to Co. Carlow will open later in the year to complete the motorway, bypassing Thomastown, Gowran, Dungarvan, Paulstown and Leighlinbridge.

M9 Waterford to Danesfort Motorway to Open with a Protest

The M9 motorway between Waterford and Danesfort will open at 11am tomorrow morning (Monday 21st March) but will be overshadowed by protests against the limiting of the service of the search and rescue helicopter based in Waterford to operating in daylight hours. It is hoped that traffic will be flowing by 2pm, and the M9 will bypass Mullinavat, Ballyhale, Stoneyford and Knocktopher – taking up to 25 minutes off the average journey from Kilkenny.

The protests mentioned above relate to the helicopter which is based at Waterford Airport and provides search & rescue cover to the Irish Sea and Atlantic Coasts around Waterford, Wexford and beyond. If somebody is in difficulty at 9:30pm just off Tramore Bay, they will have to wait 40 minutes for a helicopter to come from Shannon instead of waiting 2 minutes for one from Waterford Airport.

A Facebook Group called “Save 24hr Search & Rescue Helicopter Cover in South-East” is now available to Join – Click here to Join the Facebook Group

It will be interesting to see what Noel Dempsey has to say on the visit the South East – the area where the essential helicopter service is based. Some text from the facebook groups page says that the Irish Government saved a measly €1m euro by not having a 24 hour service – so lives lost are basically ok as long as we can have savings and two days after making this decision they spent the equivalent money traveling around the world in the Government Jet for St.Patricks Day and filling their stomachs.

There is an on-line petition which you can sign to Save the South-Easts 24hr Search & Rescue Helicopter Cover : http://www.petitiononline.com/sar01/

It is good to see our motorway link coming to the south-east at last but it is the government giving with one hand and taking away with the other. There are plenty of other things they could save money on … but a life saving service should not be one of them.

Less than 20 days to go before new section of M9 opens

With less than 20 days to go before the Waterford side of the M9 opens, the project itself is to be completed OVER 1 YEAR LATE. This has to be emphasised because you can be guaranteed that some County Councillor or TD will utter the words “The project was delivered on-time” … well it wasn’t. If you travel from Kilkenny to Waterford you will see signs at Ballyhale and Lukeswell saying “Opening Spring 2009” ; well that date has passed and still the road is not open.

The road is apparently finished except that a “safety audit” has to be completed, which may involve a TD, a scissors, a camera and a ribbon, no-one is quite sure. I just think they should  “Open the Feckin’ Road !!”

So don’t be fooled – if somebody says the M9 Waterford section was opened ontime – this is a lie.

Waterford to Dublin motorway M9 section to open soon

There is growing anticipation now for the imminent opening of the new M9 Motorway from Waterford to Dublin. This section is to open soon, with dates of March 8th, march 12th, March 17th and March 21st as the possible opening dates of this new motorway which should decrease journey times between Dublin and Waterford. The Kilkenny People has quoted March 8th but apparently no official date has been set! Motorway now extends as far as Carlow and this new section will be of major benefit to people in Waterford wanting to shop in Kilkenny or people in Kilkenny wanting to visit Tramore.

After 3 years of development the motorway will see towns like Mullinavat (also known as Mullinavegas) and Ballyhale bypassed. I’m looking forward to not having to sit behind slow moving trucks and tractors on a stretch of road which has a surface which is becoming worse each and every day.

I just hope that the new section is not subject to the stupid political mess which almost delayed the Carlow to Kilcullen opening – If it does, then I am sure that boards.ie will see another people power move which saw politicians berated by the angry motoring public.

Space Shuttle Endeavour, The Last Night Time Blast-Off

The Space Shuttle Endeavour has made its final night time launch from the Kennedy Space Center on the East coast of Florida. The Space Shuttle is now on a 13-day mission to rendezvous with the ISS (International Space Station).

This was the final night launch for NASA , as there are only 4 more space shuttle missions after this one, with all of the remaining shuttle launches taking place in daylight hours.

Now that the Space Shuttle is in orbit, we will once again have a chance to get sightings of the ISS and Space Shuttle over Ireland. If you are up on Tuesday Morning at 6:20am you will see the space station cross the Irish skies and the space shuttle will only be 5 mins behind it crossing Ireland at 6:25am. The next time we see the ISS and Space Shuttle in the Irish skies, they will have docked and it will be a merged ISS+Space Shuttle which will be visible in the skies.

I have uploaded the times of the Space Station and Space Shuttle sightings for early Feb based on Sightings for Waterford, Ireland.

SATELLITELOCALDURATIONMAX ELEVAPPROACHDEPARTURE
DATE/TIME(MIN)(DEG)(DEG-DIR)(DEG-DIR)
SHUTTLETue Feb 09/06:25 AM23519 above SSW28 above ESE
SHUTTLEWed Feb 10/05:11 AM< 11414 above ESE13 above ESE
SHUTTLEWed Feb 10/06:42 AM35916 above WSW37 above ESE
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