Yesterday morning the M11 Arklow to Rathnew upgrade was tantalisingly close to opening. I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic from the Arklow North exit with the new road teasing me.

Miles and miles of empty black tarmacadam on my right, on my left, straight in front and behind. Every inch of the way I could glimpse it. It was excruciating.

I had plenty of time to reflect on the motorway upgrade and the route that would be replaced. After months of traffic cones, new road layouts and congestion, in just a few more hours the stretch of road I was stopped on would be obsolete, used only for local access or for something different on a Sunday afternoon drive.

The new stretch of road will be a blessing to the estimated 20,000 who travel the M11 every day: the commuters, the daytrippers, the students, the school tours, the airport runs, the politicians, the buses, the articulated lorries from Rosslare.

While we will all enjoy a quicker journey to Dublin from Wexford, the trip is now safer too. 33 lives have been lost over the last 25 years on the stretch of road that is being replaced, including one of my schoolmates.

This part of the route was the trickiest.  There were lots of junctions, cars turning left, turning right, or trying to join the road. The Ballinameesda Bends was a particular black spot: a dark, tree shadowed series of bends with very little space between passing cars.

The first time I drive the 16.5km stretch of new motorway I will feel a little rush of excitement at the newness of it all, the first journey of many I will take in the future.

And then after a while, it will just become part of the landscape, part of the journey.

Caroline Kidd