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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 14 Mar 1950

Vol. 119 No. 12

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Road Maintenance.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state with respect to roads used for heavy traffic (a) whether any major changes in policy have been made since February, 1948, in regard to insistence upon the provision of surface chips whose analysis is satisfactory from the standpoint of durability and non-polishing properties, and (b) whether he is continuing to advocate for road-making purposes the operation both by county councils and private contractors of quarries whose stone has been analysed.

It is my policy to urge local authorities to seek the best possible value for the moneys spent on roads. This involves the testing of stone and the use of chips which will give the most satisfactory results having regard to all circumstances.

asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that county engineers prepared approximate figures for the degree of restoration effected on the roads of each county for the year 1947-48; whether he has received similar reports for the percentage of restoration effected during the financial years 1948-49 and 1949-50 (to date), and whether he will indicate the nature of such information for each county.

County engineers were asked in October, 1947, to furnish a statement of the amount of road "restoration" work completed by the 30th September, 1947. In June, 1948, they were asked to estimate the amount of such work that would be completed by 31st March, 1949. Final figures for that period were not, however, compiled.

The basis of Road Fund grants was changed in 1949-50, and accordingly no such figures as the Deputy mentions are available for the present financial year.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the average percentage increases in 1948-49 and 1949-50 over 1938-39 in the cost of repairing and improving main and county roads or either category; and, further, if he will state the Road Fund grants for 1938-39, 1948-49 and 1949-50, the two latter figures to be reduced in accordance with the usual formula for calculating effective value or volume as distinct from gross value.

Calculations made in the Department indicate that the cost of road works increased since 1938-39 as follows:—By 1948-49—110 per cent.; by 1949-50—125 per cent. The Deputy will appreciate that, because of the many factors involved, including variations during the years in question, the above figures must be taken at the most as approximations.

The Road Fund grants allocated for the years in question are:—1938-39— £815,171; 1948-49—£4,470,458; 1949-50— £2,435,552.

I presume what the Deputy has in mind in the last part of his question is a figure to indicate the relation to 1938-39 grants of present-day grants, having regard to the increased cost of road work and increased traffic. It is not possible to reach a satisfactory figure for this, and as I am not sure of the particular formula to which the Deputy refers, I have given the figures of actual grants allocated for 1948-49 and 1949-50.

asked the Minister for Local Government if he will take the figures for volume or effective value of Road Fund grants recorded in reply to the preceding question and express them as the amount (a) per vehicle licensed on the road; (b) per commercial goods vehicle licensed; (c) per vehicle (commercial) of over five tons in laden weight, in each case in respect of any month in the years 1938-39, 1948-49 and 1949-50.

As I indicated in reply to the previous question, there is no satisfactory figure for what the Deputy calls "effective value of Road Fund grants". This question cannot, therefore, be answered. If he wishes, I shall be glad to let the Deputy have the number of vehicles, commercial goods vehicles, and commercial goods vehicles exceeding five tons in weight unladen, registered in August of each of the years 1939, 1948 and 1949.