TRANSPORT MINISTER ANNOUNCES 10 MAJOR NEW ROAD PROJECTS-COSTING ESTIMATED €900M-GOING TO TENDER
The Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan T.D., announced today (Friday, 27th June 2003) that in a further boost to the countrys substantial road building programme the tendering process for 10 major new road projects will commence shortly. The total cost of the new roads is estimated at over €900 million and it is expected that work will commence on the projects in 2004.
The Minister said the 10 new schemes that are moving closer to start-up are in addition to the further 9 projects that will open to traffic this year, including the 2nd Westlink Bridge, Glen of the Downes By Pass and projects at Watergrasshill on the N8 and on the N18/N19 at Shannon, and the 7 new projects on which work is starting this year, including the Kilcock/Kinnegad and Monasterevin By Passes.
Minister Brennan made the announcement at the official opening by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D. of two connecting schemes on the MI Dublin-Belfast Road, Cloghran-Lissenhall and Lissenhall-Balbriggan. The opening of the new sections now means that road users on the M1 can enjoy the benefits of travelling on 72km of continuous motorway between Dublin and Dundalk. The two new schemes have a combined length of 16.3km and cost €230 million. More than €700 million has been invested to date in the upgrading of the M1 to motorway standard.
The Minister said the National Roads Authority are now moving to commence the tendering process on 10 more major projects throughout the country with a view to beginning work on them in 2004.
The rate of progress on these projects is subject to available funding and the outcome of the tendering process.
The projects are:
M1 - Dundalk/Border
N2 - Ashbourne Bypass
N4 - Sligo Relief Road
N4 - McNeads Bridge/Kinnegad
N6 - Loughrea Bypass
N7 - Naas Road Widening
N15 - Ballyshannon/Bundoran Bypass
N18 - Ennis Bypass
N21 - Ballycarthy/Tralee
N25 - Kinsale Road Interchange
The rate of progress on the Dundalk, Loughrea and Naas schemes will be subject to confirmation of the Compulsory Purchase Orders.
Minister Brennan said: We are now beginning to reap the benefits of the large increase in investment in recent years in upgrading the national roads network. In 2003 more than €1.2 billion is being invested in the construction of up to 200kms of motorway and dual carriageway. My Department is currently in discussions with the Department of Finance to secure a rolling multi-annual funding framework for our national roads programme. When this is finalised shortly it will have particular benefits for the forward planning of road projects.
The Minister welcomed the fact that the M1 schemes had been delivered by the NRA ahead of schedule and paid tribute to all involved. These schemes set an example that we must strive to achieve in all other projects. It is imperative that we exploit every opportunity to contain the costs of major transport infrastructure projects. This will require on the part of all involved in the programme, the continuing development of cost estimation and control systems and procurement and contract arrangements. I will be seeking in the context of the Critical Infrastructure Bill to further streamline the planning and design process for major projects, he said.
Minister Brennan said there was an all time high level of activity as regards road planning and building. On the MI, the Public Private Partnership contract for the Dundalk Western By Pass should be awarded by the end of 2003, while the Dundalk-Newry cross-Border scheme is being progressed through the statutory approval procedures.
The M1 feeds onto the M50 Dublin C-Ring connecting to the Dublin-Wexford Road which has been developed or is currently under construction to motorway/dual carriageway standard to the south of Rathnew. Planning is well advanced to extend the dual carriageway beyond Gorey. Statutory approval procedures should be initiated later this year for the proposed scheme by-passing the County Wexford town traffic congestion blackspot.
Construction of the 40 km Kilcock-Kinnegad motorway on the N4/N6 Dublin-Galway Road is underway. Minister Brennan said he was informed by the NRA that excellent progress is being made on the Kildare By-Pass, while construction is underway on the Monasterevin By-Pass, which is scheduled for completion in 2005. It will then be possible to travel on motorway/dual carriageway from Dublin to south of Portlaoise, a major boost for road users on the Dublin-Cork and Dublin-Limerick routes.
The planning of the Dublin-Waterford route is well advanced and developments can be expected on the publication of Compulsory Purchase Orders and Environmental Impact Statements. Arrangements are being put in place to conclude the tender process for the Waterford City By-Pass Public Private Partnership scheme.
Further information: Tom Rowley (01) 6041089 087 8124723
Veronica Scanlan (01) 6041087 087 6430622