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Varadkar launches local & regional road maintenance initiative

Posted on 13 March 2013, under the category RSA Press Release

“Working as a driving instructor, you spend a lot of time on the road. I have noticed some very bad potholes around Dublin and even on the Finglas, Raheny and Tallaght driving test routes. This seems to be well planned with work scheduled for fixing drainage problems. There has been some talk on the radio about one incident regarding a ridiculously large pothole.”

Varadkar launches local & regional road maintenance initiative

Focus on emergency maintenance means new regional road projects put on ice.

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has announced a new initiative to maintain rural roads by allowing local authorities to re-focus Government road funding of €42 million on the upkeep and maintenance of the existing road network.

        • Minister Varadkar has written to 29 local authorities announcing that €42 million from the existing Restoration Improvement Grant can be used for emergency repair works on local and regional roads.
        • Separately, a new €2.7 million fund for emergency maintenance work has been launched for drainage works on the worst-affected local and regional roads.
        • The re-focussing of funding by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport means it will not be possible to start any new road construction projects in the immediate future.

“It’s obvious to anyone who lives or drives through rural areas that some road surfaces are in need of repair. As well as the usual winter damage, increasing rainfall levels have caused significant damage in recent years. Surface water is a particular problem because it undermines roads and causes potholes.

“I have met with delegates from a number of local authorities around the country. They accept that there is no new money available but have asked for greater flexibility in how they can spend their road funding. That’s why I am giving permission to local authorities to re-allocate €42 million from the existing Restoration Improvement Grant for other uses, such as pothole repairs and repairs to road surfaces.

“I have also allocated new funding of €2.7 million to local authorities to conduct extra maintenance on local and regional roads. We have identified a particular problem with surface water and poor drainage on rural roads. This new fund can be used specifically to improve road drainage, remove surface water, and address existing road drainage problems.

“Because resources are so limited, this focus on road maintenance means it won’t be possible to start any new local or regional road construction projects in the next couple of years. The Department of Transport will therefore focus the limited resources available on road maintenance in the near future. While this will be a disappointment to some areas, there is no point in building new roads if we cannot maintain the existing network.

“I also want to stress that local authorities are the legal authority for their own roads and have responsibility for maintaining and improving roads. Each local authority is expected to use a portion of its own resources on road improvements, in addition to direct Government funding. There are huge variations between different local authorities in terms of how much of their own resources are being used. That’s why I am again urging councillors to put pressure on their council officials to focus a larger amount of their own resources on road maintenance.”

Issued by: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Press Office:

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