Call to let HGVs go toll free on the M1 to prevent traffic chaos in East Meath villages

An East Meath Labour councillor has proposed making tolls free for HGVs on the M1 in an effort to tackle traffic congestion in the region.

With toll prices set to rise on the M1 at the end of June, Drogheda and East Meath residents face having the region clogged up with traffic avoiding the tolls.

At the March meeting of Meath Co Council, Cllr Elaine McGinty spoke about the need for urgent action on toll charges for HGVs and requested that council engage with the Government before the increase takes effect.

Cllr McGinty said: “In 2013, a study was undertaken by the Department of Transport to see what the impact would be of a toll-free passage for HGVs on the M1.

“HGV traffic was subject to the normal tolls in October and December of that year but in November, HGVs could use the M1, toll-free.

“The results were staggering. During the month where HGVs were exempt from toll charges, there was a 20 per cent reduction in HGV traffic on the R132 through Julianstown (below).

“While this study was nearly 10 years ago, it is a good indication of what impact removing the HGV toll would have on traffic congestion in the area.”

Separately, the East Meath councillor was informed by Meath Co Council that its transport department has appointed Systra Ltd consulting engineers to carry out a review of traffic movements on the R132 through Julianstown and prepare a Strategic Assessment Report for the proposed Julianstown Traffic Relief Scheme.

Cllr McGinty explained: “A draft copy of the report has been received and has been issued to the Department of Transport for review in advance of issuing a formal request to proceed to the next phase of the scheme

“The Department of Transport has provided an allocation of €75,000 to Meath Co Council for 2023 to progress the scheme.”

Cllr McGinty concluded: “Removal of the toll for HGVs on the M1 is one solution that would immediately help to tackle chronic traffic congestion in the area, improve air quality, require less road maintenance from the council and it would make our roads safer.

“We also urgently need government investment in road and public transport solutions for East Meath and Drogheda.”