Westmeath gets just 2.3pc of national road improvement money

Westmeath is to receive just under €8m for the maintenance and upkeep of its regional and local roads, out of a national allocation of €332m, it was revealed this week.

These are the smaller roads around the county with the R- or L- prefixes, as opposed to the N52 and M4 routes, whose upkeep is managed centrally by the NRA.

Already this money has been allocated for maintenance, restoration, safety and bridge improvement throughout the county, with the largest single allocation being the €1.436m for Garrycastle bridge in 2014.

A further €200,000 will be used to improve at least 10 culverts across Westmeath, while another €158,500 will take care of seven low-cost safety approved schemes.

The roads department at the council already has an extensive priority list of routes throughout the county needing varying degrees of attention, and it is not expected this allocation will come close to clearing this list.

The Department of Transport has included a demand that all works - other than schemes whose nature means they must continue into 2015 - be completed by October 31, or the local authority runs the risk of having its allocation cut for next year.

In line with best practice, the Department has urged that the council “vigorously pursue outstanding invoices from contractors during the year to ensure the timely claiming of grants in 2014”.

It has also asked that the council should claim eligible payments “as soon as possible” and not wait until the end of the year to do so as had been the practice up until now.

The restoration improvement grant of these secondary roads continues to be the main focus of this programme, and is based on the four-year programmes submitted by local authorities in 2012

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