Report finds €246 million needed to upgrade county road network

The total cost to rectify all the deficiencies in the local road network throughout Galway county would be approximately €246 million, according to a recent study carried out by the local authority roads unit.

At a recent meeting of the Galway County Council Frank Gilmore, director of services for roads, transportation, marine, and general services, gave a presentation on the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating of Local Roads which concluded that the large sum would be needed to bring the local road network to a sufficient level.

The report also noted that the estimated minimum annual road maintenance and restoration costs to maintain a satisfactory road network in Galway county would cost more than €30 million over a sustained period. The total funding available for road maintenance in 2013 is €24.2 million.

Mr Gilmore explained the study was a scientific evaluation of local roads which had never been carried out before. It arose out of a need to define the extent of the network, assess road conditions in a structured manner, reduce funds on roads expenditure, allocate reduced funds in a targeted fashion to achieve clear objectives, measure outcomes against a baseline, and demonstrate the effectiveness of roads expenditure.

Regarding the condition of the roads, Mr Gilmore said a rating of four was regarded as the minimum acceptable road condition rating. The results of the study show that 81.33 per cent of the local roads in the county have a condition factor of more than four while 18.67 per cent of local roads have a condition of less than four.

Cllr Peter Roche asked if local roads, under a condition rating of four, would be made a priority. This was echoed by Cllr Malachy Noone who said there was a need for a system to be put in place to improve very bad roads.

Complimenting the report, Cllr Jim Cuddy noted that with the present level of funding the condition of local roads, of which there are 5,300 in the county, is never going to be perfect, saying: “We have a ferocious problem. The council officials have to tell the public that services are going down despite tax increase. If all the road tax in Galway county was kept in the county it still wouldn’t address the issue. There’s no point in officials hiding behind ministers. Tell the public what we’re facing.”

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