Dire state of roads high on the agenda

councillor is seeking a meeting with the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to discuss the dire state of the county's road network.

Fianna Fail representative Martina Kinane says it is paramount the county council requests a meeting with Minister Ross on the urgent need for substantial funding for local roads.

The council's roads budget has taken a dramatic hit in recent years. This year, €18.5 million was allocated towards the improvement and maintenance of such roads – a drop of one million on the figure for 2015, and almost half the figure of €31.5 million for 2007.

Councillor Kinane says other factors have also added to the problems. “Over the years the roads budget has been drastically cut and what was a seven year maintenance programme has now increased to 14 years. Another worrying factor is the recent reclassification of some national roads to regional roads, which has led to increased costs for Galway County Council."

Cllr Kinane wants 10 per cent of any additional funding allocated to Galway County Council to be reapportioned to regional and local road maintenance for the area within 25km of Galway city centre. "It is widely acknowledged, the heavier traffic volumes are within 25km of Galway city and consequently regional and local roads in this region are under severe pressure. As a member of the Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy for the last two years, I have expressed on many occasions that all relevant parameters affecting road quality, such as traffic volumes and volumes of heavy good vehicles needs to be urgently considered when distributing the roads budget for the county."

Connemara

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the county, Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív says he is very concerned by the lack of progress being made on proposed improvements to the N59 Oughterard to Clifden road.

The Connemara based Deputy is particularly worried about the lack of engagement between the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Galway County Council. "The delays to this project are bordering on farcical at this point and it appears as if the authorities are oblivious to the importance of these upgrade works. This is the main road connecting Connemara, not only to Galway city, but to the rest of the county, and indeed the country. The upgrade is needed to give visitors and tourists greater ease of access to west Galway, Connemara and the Gaeltacht.

Deputy O'Cuiv says Minister Heather Humphreys has indicated to him that there has been no further meeting between her department officials, and Galway County Council since April this year. "This is simply not good enough. There appears to be no sense of urgency in either the Department or Galway County Council to progress these upgrade works. This is an extremely important project and it cannot be allowed to slide off the agenda. I will continue to press the Minister and the local authority on this matter until a resolution is found and work on the project begins."

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