MINISTER ROSS ANNOUNCES INVESTMENT FOR REGIONAL AND LOCAL ROADS

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, announced details of a €483 million investment programme for 2019 for regional and local roads.

Minister Ross said: “This announcement will see a further significant increase in grant funding for regional and local roads. Overall funding will increase by about 16% this year.” This increase in funding should allow approximately 2,400kms of regional and local roads to be maintained and 2,150kms to be strengthened this year.”

The Minister continued; “Building better roads can change lives, but investing in safer roads will save lives. The campaign to change attitudes to drink driving, speeding, phone use and seatbelt wearing must be accompanied by Government delivering major funding for quality road investment if our roads are to be safer for all, and I am glad to say we are doing that.

The Minister indicated that his main priority remains investment in the maintenance and renewal of the regional and local road network. The Minister said: “Last year specific funding was ring-fenced for drainage works to help promote increased network resilience. This grant has been very well received by local authorities and the amount available for drainage works will double this year to €20 million. In addition funds are being set aside to assist with the purchase of velocity patching machines to further support local authorities’ road repair programmes.”

There will also be significant expenditure of €65 million on road improvements projects. As in previous years a significant number of these projects have a safety focus, including the R194 Dunancorry Bridge widening in County Cavan, Derrartha Road in County Galway, the R556 Dale Road in County Kerry, Robeen Cross junction improvement in County Mayo, the R155 Curragha, and the R284 Gleann in County Sligo. 

The Minister also confirmed that €15 million is being allocated to Community Involvement Schemes as part of the two year programme started in 2018.

The Minister commissioned a regional road condition survey in 2018 and in light of the survey findings has decided to initiate a pilot scheme to provide maintenance funding targeted on sections of former national roads which have been identified in the survey as being in poor condition. The total amount being allocated is €5 million.

Minister Ross added: “Construction of a number of Project Ireland 2040 schemes is expected to be completed in 2019:

The Adamstown and Nangor Road Upgrades in County Dublin
The Dingle Relief Road in County Kerry
The Sallins By-Pass in County Kildare
The Portlaoise Southern Relief Road in County Laois”
The 2019 investment programme also allows for other Project Ireland 2040 schemes to continue, including:

Bettystown to Laytown Link Road in County Meath
Shannon Crossing/Limerick Northern Distributor Road, County Clare
Athy Southern Distributor Road in County Kildare
Eastern Garavogue Bridge in Sligo
Coonagh/Knockalisheen Distributor Road in Limerick
Sligo Western Distributor Road
R498 Latteragh Road Upgrade in County Tipperary
Tralee Northern Relief Road in County Kerry
Other improvement projects that have received an allocation in 2019 include:

Laghey to Pettigo Road, County Donegal
Culvert Remedial work in Thomastown, County Kilkenny
Tralee to Fenit road upgrade, County Kerry
Killala Road upgrade, County Mayo
Project to address flooding at Junction of R665 with R671 in Waterford
The rehabilitation of a number of critically deficient bridges on regional roads around the country including:

Daly Bridge, and St Vincent’s Bridge in Cork City
Tirconnell Bridge in County Donegal
Ardfinnan Bridge and Clionbeg Bridge in County Tipperary
Hartley Bridge in County Leitrim
Obelisk Bridge and St Dominic’s Bridge in County Louth
“There is also provision for 270 bridge rehabilitation schemes and 240 safety improvement projects to be carried out. The main focus of the safety improvements scheme is to improve safety at locations where collisions have taken place or where the potential for collisions is high.”

The main features of the investment programme include:

€215m for road pavement strengthening works;
€53m for surface dressing;
€82m for maintenance and strengthening works for which Local Authorities have discretion in the selection of roads;
€65m for Specific and Strategic Regional and Local Roads Projects;
€11m for Bridge rehabilitation works;
€9m for Safety Improvement Works;
€20m for Drainage works;
€15m for Community Involvement Schemes
€13m approx. of miscellaneous grants including, training, speed limit funding, severe weather repairs, salt purchase, velocity patching machines
“I would also like to emphasise again that I consider that local authorities are best placed to assess priorities within their areas and considerable autonomy is therefore given to local authorities under the maintenance and renewal grant headings to decide their work programme. I would also explain that these grants supplement local authorities own resources expenditure on regional and local road projects and do not represent the total investment in regional and local roads for this year.”