4th October 2023 marked the 40th Anniversary of the official opening of the M7 Naas Bypass, Ireland’s first motorway, which was opened on the 4th of October 1983 by the then Tánaiste, TD Dick Spring.
The M7 Naas Bypass Motorway consisted of 12km of dual carriageway and five major bridges, incorporating key structures at the Rathangan Road, Maudlins Interchange and the Grand Canal. The bypass also involved large scale construction of road pavements and earthworks.
The scheme had many firsts, including the first 8km of motorway built in Ireland as well as a number of engineering and construction firsts for Ireland. The design also included for noise and landscape impact assessments, a first in terms of environmental assessment for large road schemes in Ireland.
A distinctive feature on the M7 Naas Bypass is the ‘Perpetual Motion’ art feature at Maudlins, commonly known as the ‘Blackball’ or ‘Naas Ball’. The ‘Perpetual Motion’ feature was designed by artists Rachael Joynt and Remco de Fouw. The spherical structure is a tubular steel sphere, onto which a 50mm layer of concrete was sprayed to create the road-like surface effect once the surface was painted.
An information evening about the M7 Naas Bypass Motorway will be presented by Naas Local History Group in co-operation with Kildare County Council. Details of the event, once confirmed, will be available on the Local History Diary.