Massive Drop In Roads Spending

It has been revealed that just one new national road building scheme will start construction this year.

Under a reduced €1.44 billion national roads allocation budget for 2009, only the Castleisland bypass in Co Kerry will join 16 other major road schemes currently under construction with a total length of just under 500 kilometres.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey said significant savings on tendering prices and early completions had provided the money to press ahead with the Castleisland scheme this year, but warned there was little more cash in the kitty.

He said that a number of projects are being "rescheduled" including the N5 bypass of Longford; the N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton road in Co Cork; the N18 Gort to Oranmore road; the reconstruction of Newlands Cross in south Dublin.

He also revealed that there is no provision for the Leinster outer orbital motorway. However, the State is to continue its investment in road building in Northern Ireland to which some €400m has been committed, Mr Dempsey confirmed.

Funding will be allocated to finance 315 projects throughout the country, including Phase 1 and 3 of the M50 between the Ballymount and Blanchardstown Junctions.

The overall allocation announced yesterday represents an average investment of €120 million per month in Ireland's national roads. It is being made under the Transport 21 Programme and the National Development Plan.

"This Government is committed to progressing projects that will maintain employment and underpin our economic development," he commented.

"The almost billion and a half euro funding that we have allocated for national roads in 2009 will allow for the continued upgrading of our road network so that road users can enjoy safer, more efficient journeys.

"By 2010 we will have completed our major motorway programme delivering over 742 kms of new motorway right across the country," said Minister Dempsey.

As of January 1st, approximately 478 km of new roads are under construction around the country and 156km of these roads are scheduled to be completed this year.


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