"First Early Contractor Involvement type National Road Project"
Transport Minister, Martin Cullen, T.D. travelled to Tipperary today (Monday, 22nd May 2006) where he turned the sod on the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown Road Project. Stretching some 37kms in length, the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown project forms part of the South West Corridor that links Limerick and Cork and Dublin. It is due to be completed in May 2009.
This national road project is the first "Early Contractor Involvement" (ECI) type contract which aims to further improve on the delivery of the national roads programme. "It takes the now familiar "Design-Build" form of contract which is delivering national road projects on time and within budget, a step further", said the Minister.
The first phase of the project commences at the southern end of the Cashel Bypass and will run to Carrigane in County Cork. It also includes a section of the N24 Cahir / Rathkeevin road improvement scheme between Cloughabreeda and Knockagh. When complete, the project will comprise dual carriageway and motorway.
Speaking at the sod turning event today, Minister Cullen described the project as "one of strategic importance under the Government's Transport 21 plan." Roadbridge/Sisk Joint Venture who have the contract, have completed a preliminary design and prepared an Environmental Impact Statement along with the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) papers.
The 'Early Contractor Involvement' aims to reduce the risks involved with a project by harnessing the experience of both the contractors and the client. Having the contractors in place at an early stage has the benefit of their experience in construction methods and provides more scope for innovation, improve risk management, augment forward planning and resource requirements. It also allows the contractors to understand and be party to delivering the environmental and other commitments given during the roll-out of the project. In essence, ECI seeks to reduce the risks involved within a project and to pre-plan from an early stage.
Minister Cullen said many people would gain from the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown Road Project. "Together with other improvements for a new N8 / M8 this project will benefit many road users. As the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown forms part of the South West Corridor that links Limerick and Cork and Dublin, it will benefit commercial and tourism sectors as well as cutting travelling times and reducing congestion. In addition, it will reduce traffic volumes going through local villages, giving the villages back to their people and improving road safety."
The Minister spoke of the high level of investment in our national road network scheme under Transport 21. "Transport 21 is a first for this country. Never before had there been a ten-year funding plan for capital investment in transport infrastructure. Investing €34 billion for the next ten years is a clear recognition on the part of this Government that strong and effective transport links are essential to the continuing success this country is achieving. Projects such as the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown play a key role in protecting and growing job opportunities as well as protecting and connecting community life throughout all parts of our country", he said.
Mr Peter Malone, Chairman of the National Roads Authority said: "As the National Roads Authority traverses the country building new motorways these national road projects benefit regional and economic growth and in turn our national economy. The 37km N8 Cashel/Mitchelstown scheme, on which works gets underway today, will impact positively on the strategic South West Corridor when it opens in 2009. This project will not only benefit South County Tipperary, Cork and Limerick but will also help connect two major cities Cork and Dublin and the NRA is on schedule to deliver the longest inter-urban link the Cork /Dublin route by 2010. This will enhance commercial and tourist business opportunities along the route while at the same time providing a healthier and safer environment for bypassed villages and safer a road for motorists.
Developing Ireland's road infrastructure to a world-class network is a huge task and one that is being addressed by the Government's Transport 21 Plan. The N8 Cashel Mitchelstown scheme demonstrates the massive scale of the projects contained in the €16bn 10 year plan and the NRA will continue to work hard with the local authorities to ensure its successful delivery."
Veronica Scanlan 087 6430622