A grant of €18 million has been sanctioned for regional and local roads in Mayo for 2013, down almost €2 million on last year’s allocation.
The announcement was made by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring and follows the announcement of over €7 million by the NRA for national roads in the county.
The regional and local roads grant will enable the county council to advance works or finish five major projects while maintaining other roads in the county.
The five major projects include Gortnafolla Bridge, Turlough, Castlebar (€300,000 ); Tonragee, Achill Sound (€460,000 ); Killala Streets, Killala (€400,000 ); Rehins, Newport Road, Castlebar (€200,000 ); and Bunowen Bridge, Louisburgh (€400,000 ).
€8.4 million will also be spent on restoration improvements, €3.6 million on discretionary works and €3.4 million on restoration maintenance.
According to Minister Ring much of the funding will be used to maintain the roads network.“The bad weather we have experienced this week is an important reminder of the need to keep roads up to scratch,” he added. The funding includes €185,000 for nine low cost safety schemes.Meanwhile the €7 million national roads allocation is down by over 50 per cent this year from the 2012 allocation. The recent NRA grant will see €7,222,459 spent on the national roads compared to €15,273.841 in 2012.
The allocation for improvement works on the national primary roads this year will be almost €2.5 million less than last year with only €819,000 allocated this year compared to €3,245,000 in 2013.
The major scheme investment this year totals €804,000 with the N5/N26/N58 Turlough to Bohola the main scheme with €500,000 earmarked for that project, €200,000 allocated to the Westport to Turlough project, and €104,000 for the Charlestown by-pass.
A figure of €5,004,130 will be spent on national secondary road improvements works, which is down almost half on last year’s allocation of €10,531,000. The maintenance allocation for both the national primary and national second roads remained more or less the same as 2012, with €1,399,329 allocated this year by the NRA.
There has been a welcome for some of the allocations in this year’s programme, with Fine Gael TD Dep Michelle Mulherin welcoming the allocation of €500,000 for the N26 project. She said this week, “The N26 is a major road artery into Ballina and provides an access gateway to the whole of Erris and this is very positive news for our region and I have left no stone unturned in that regard. I want to sincerely thank the Taoiseach and the Minister for Transport.”
Although the project was “derailed in 2010”, Dep Mulherin said that after series of meetings with the Taoiseach and the Minister “it was confirmed to me that the N26 is a political priority within the limited budget available and the project was put back on track with the first funding allocation last year”.
Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins, an active member of the European Parliament's Transport Committee, commented: “This year's NRA allocation has road safety at its core with funding awarded to local authorities in order to improve our road network. The allocation also includes €175,000 for safety upgrades [in Mayo] including the N59 Moyna junction for example.”