Varadkar announces €332.9m investment programme for regional and local roads

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has announced details of a major €332.9 million investment programme for regional and local roads in 2014. 

The investment will allow approximately 1,910 kms of regional and local road to be maintained, 2,156 kms to be strengthened, 245 low cost safety projects to be carried out, and 162 bridge rehabilitation projects in 2014.

Minister Varadkar said: “I have been able to protect funding for road maintenance and repair in 2014 as maintenance must be the top priority, particularly following the recent spell of bad weather. Local authorities will also have more discretion than ever before about how they allocate funding under the various grant categories, which will allow them to target resources at roads damaged by the recent storms. More than €106 million is available in 2014 for works that the local authorities will have full discretion over.

“In addition, I am allowing local authorities to set aside funds for Local Improvement Schemes to repair laneways that are not public roads but are used by several households or farms.

“The focus on road maintenance and repair comes against a backdrop of ongoing limited resources and an overall cut of 17% this year on the 2013 funding. As a consequence, new schemes focused on improvement rather than maintenance will be curtailed for 2014. Our priority is to maintain the existing road network, and unfortunately there is little scope for carrying out new road improvement projects.”