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Published on : Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Speaking this afternoon, Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am announcing the 2016 general grant allocations for regional and local roads which will allow Local Authorities to plan ahead and decide their annual work programmes. In recognition of the recent flood and storm damage to regional and local roads, I will make an announcement shortly in respect of funding to help Local Authorities deal with those repairs’.
The Minister added that the priority in 2016 continues to be the maintenance of our existing road network and that the allocations for the key road maintenance and strengthening programmes for the Local Authorities are on a par with last year. The funding package will allow approximately 2,000 kilometres of regional and local roads to be maintained and close to 2,000 kilometres strengthened this year.
“As well as expenditure on maintenance and strengthening the 2016 investment programme also allows for a number of improvement projects to progress, including:
Improvement work on the Nangor and Adamstown roads to facilitate significant industries at Grange Castle Business Park;
Replacement of Cockhill Bridge, Buncrana in Co. Donegal;
The continuing rehabilitation of Clontarf Bridge, which is on a vital route in Cork City;
Improvement works on the Cong Road, Co. Mayo;
Cappahard Roundabout, Tulla Road, Ennis;
Float Bridge, Ballaghaderreen.
Capital Plan 2016-2021
“The transport element of the Government’s Capital Plan provides for the gradual build-up in capital funding for the road network towards the levels needed to support maintenance and improvement works. While the main focus in the initial years will be on maintenance, provision has also been made for some investment in targeted improvement schemes. In 2016, work on the planning of a number of the schemes outlined in the Capital Plan will be progressed. These are the Bettystown to Laytown Link Road, the Sallins Bypass and Osberstown Interchange, the Portlaoise Southern Relief Road together with the Dingle Relief road.
“There is also provision for 192 bridge rehabilitation schemes and 178 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.
“The main features of the investment programme include:
€148m for maintenance, improvement and strengthening works;
€41m for surface dressing;
€63m for maintenance and strengthening works for which Local Authorities have discretion in the selection of roads;
€10.1m for Specific and Strategic Regional and Local Roads Projects;
€7.8m for bridge rehabilitation works;
€5.9m for Safety Improvement Works;
€18.1m of miscellaneous grants including, bridge inspections, training, maproad and road safety measures.
New initiative to tackle invasive plant species
“This year my Department is participating in a joint initiative, in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), to map and treat invasive plant species on our road network. It is estimated that invasive plant species will cost the EU €12 billion per year and costs are rising. The focus of the initiative with TII in 2016 will be Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) on the national road network, including at intersections with the regional road network. A rolling annual programme is proposed for future years.
Speed limits in housing estates
“Building on the initiative in 2015 to reduce speeds in housing estates, my Department will allocate €1.7 million to Local Authorities in 2016 for speed limit and associated signage. In addition, funding is being provided to three Local Authorities for pilot engineering traffic calming measures. This will provide an opportunity to press ahead with the signage programme and related checking of before/after speeds while also testing the efficacy of possible engineering measures.
“I continue to be of the view that Local Authorities are best placed to assess priorities within their areas and considerable flexibility is therefore given to them under the various grant headings to decide on the work programme to be carried out in their area. It is also important to note that that the purpose of these grants is to supplement Local Authorities’ own resource expenditure on the regional and local road network and therefore, do not represent the total investment in regional and local roads for this year.
“I am very conscious that the most extensive impact of the recent severe weather incidents in the transport sector has been on the road network through both pluvial and fluvial flooding. My officials and those in TII will be engaging fully with Local Authority officials to ensure that critical repair works are addressed as quickly as possible.”