The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, has announced details of a €525 million investment programme for 2020 for regional and local roads. Minister Ross said: “Roads funding will increase by over 8% this year. The funding package will allow approximately 2,700kms of roads to be maintained and 2,300kms to be strengthened. Well maintained roads are crucial to road safety, to saving lives and to minimising road collisions. Road fatalities and injuries can be cut drastically by smart investment in better roads.”

In light of the 2018 condition study of regional roads, I will also continue the pilot scheme which targets highly trafficked wide former national roads which are in poor condition. Funding for this work has increased to €7 million for 2020. Ring-fenced funding for the Community Involvement Scheme was introduced in 2018. A new two year work programme under the Scheme is starting this year and I can confirm that €16 million will be allocated to the Scheme in 2020.”

The Minister noted that three NDP projects were completed in 2019; namely:
· Upgrade of Nangor and Adamstown roads (facilitates Grange Business Park)
· Portlaoise Southern Distributor Road
· Dingle Relief Road

Two NDP projects are due to be completed in 2020; namely:
· Sallins By-Pass
· Sligo Western Distributor Road

It is expected that the following NDP projects will go to construction in 2020
· Coonagh to Knockalisheen upgrade
· the Athy Southern Distributor Road and
· the Bettystown to Laytown Link Road

Other NDP projects are also being progressed i.e:
· Shannon Crossing / Killaloe By-Pass / R494 upgrade
· Eastern Garavogue Bridge in Sligo
· Tralee Northern Relief Road
· R498 Latteragh Realignment

Upgrade works on a number of other significant projects are also being progressed in 2020 including the rehabilitation of a number of critically deficient bridges on regional roads around the country such as:
· R194 Dunancorry Bridge widening (over Blackwater River), Co Cavan
· Brackly Bridge Replacement, Co. Monaghan

Projects which support employment through improved infrastructure such as:
· Tralee to Fenit realignment phase 1 in County Kerry
· A number of schemes in the Ballymahon area of County Longford

Denise Maguire   Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine