- €310 million for pavement improvement and maintenance
- €182 million on 316 specific road improvement projects
- €15 million for local improvements, improving access to isolated and depopulated areas
- €8.6 million to address accident blackspots
Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey, T.D. today announced details of the Government’s €607.5 million investment programme in the regional and local road network for 2009.
Speaking today about the 2009 investment programme. Minister Dempsey said:
“I am particularly pleased that in a year when exchequer funding is under enormous pressure I am in a position to allocate over €600 million for the maintenance and improvement of our regional and local roads network in 2009.
These roads serve an important economic role and have valuable social and community functions. 94% of all our roads are regional or local – they carry about 60% of all traffic and 43% of all goods traffic. It is, therefore, imperative that we maintain and, where necessary, improve the network.”
“Since the mid-1990s we have invested over €2 billion in a programme of road restoration and reconstruction and we have also spent about €650 million on road maintenance works to make our roads better and safer.”
The Minister added: “This programme is continuing in 2009. I have allowed 50% of the total available funds - €310 million – for the Pavement Restoration Programme, which is intended to improve 2,540 kilometres of road this year and will surface dress a further 4,200 kilometres.”
The second major element of the 2009 grants will result in an investment of almost €182 million in 316 specific improvement projects of various scales. This will include new roads and bridges and road and bridge upgrade projects. This programme involves:
- Strategic road projects which make a substantial contribution to the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy. This mainly involves investment in and between the Gateways and Hubs designated in the Strategy;
- Roads which open up strategically placed landbanks for housing and related development in, or adjacent to, the most densely populated urban centres where housing needs are greatest; and
- Projects in all areas that support employment and economic activity. This includes roads which link to other transport infrastructure and which support industry, agriculture, tourism, fishing and forestry.
Referring to the Government’s Road Safety Strategy that was published in late 2007, the Minister pointed out: “Safety is central to all road improvement and maintenance work and is a key plank of the road investment programme. As in previous years, I am making specific allocations this year to tackle accident blackspots. This year, specific safety measures will be put in place at over 300 locations.”
The other main elements of the 2009 investment programme include improvements to signposting on regional roads, traffic management measures, improvements to footpaths, and grants for road worker training programmes.
A total of €15 million has been set aside this year for the Local Improvements Scheme. Under this scheme, grants are made available to county councils for the carrying out of road works on private roads. Works carried out provide improved access for people in isolated and depopulated areas.
The Minister also stressed the importance of local authorities in the improvement and maintenance of the regional and local roads network. “State grants are a supplement to expenditure by the local authorities. All authorities need to maintain and even increase their own expenditure on their road networks.”
(Summary of Grant Allocations Attached below)
Note for Editors
The 2007 – 2013 National Development Plan reflects the importance that the Government attaches to this network. The Plan provides for investment of €4.3 billion of Exchequer and Local Government Fund monies in regional and local roads. These funds will be aimed primarily at improving and maintaining the network and catering for investment in strategic routes.
Press Office, Department of Transport (01) 604 1090/(01) 604 1091
Olive Stephens: (087) 7601642