To ask the Minister for Transport the degree to which the road development target set in the National Plan are being achieved or are achievable; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Bernard J. Durkan.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2004.
Ref No: 7041/04
Answered by the Minister for Transport (Seamus Brennan)
Good progress is being made in the implementation of the national roads development programme mandated in the National Development Plan (NDP). Total Exchequer investment over the period 2000-2004 will amount to almost €5.3bn . Since 2000 a total of 37 projects (over 250kms) have been completed. Work is currently underway on a further 17 projects (150kms) and 16 projects (150kms) are at tender stage.
The current position in relation to the upgrading of the five major inter-urban routes to motorway-high quality dual carriageway standard is that the M1 is expected to be fully complete by end 2006. Work is under way on major projects on the N7 Monasterevin bypass and Limerick southern ring road phase 1, on the N8 Cashel bypass and on the N4/N6 Kilcock-Kinnegad. Work is expected to start this year on the Dundalk western bypass and Dundalk to Newry on the M1, on the Fermoy bypass N8, the Waterford City bypass N9-N25 and Naas road widening N7. Completion of these projects will eliminate many of the major bottlenecks on these routes.
In addition, it is expected that compulsory purchase orders and environmental impact statements for the remaining projects in planning on these routes will either be approved by, or be before, An Bord Pleanála by end 2004. On the basis of current planning and funding the National Roads Authority (NRA) estimate that the full completion of these routes, other than the M1, will extend too 2010 compared to 2006 as mandated in the NDP. In response to a request from me the NRA is considering, in the context of the multi-annual programme being prepared in response to the announcement by the Minister for Finance of a multi-annual funding framework for capital investment, the scope to bring forward the completion of the Cork-Dublin and Galway-Dublin routes to 2007.