Written Answers. - Road Network.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

444 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the plans he has to address the concerns of the Irish Hotels Federation about signposting and road services linking all parts of the country. [7561/01]

The National Roads Authority – NRA – has assumed direct responsibility for the provision of directional signage and delineation on national roads. Issues arising in this connection may be appropriately addressed to NRA.

My Department has published the Traffic Signs Manual, 1996, as a comprehensive guide to the provision of road signage in Ireland. It prescribes the design, formats, dimensions and positioning of all road signs and the standards required to ensure that road users are given messages clearly and in good time. The use of the manual is intended over time to lead to greater uniformity of practice and to the creation of a more consistent approach to signing generally.

In its role of oversight of the non-national roads programme, my Department issued a circular letter to road authorities in August 1998 emphasising the importance of providing and maintaining a high standard of road signage. My Department's Memorandum on Grants for Non-National Roads, which issued on 5 February 2001, again reminded local authorities of the need to bring their signage on the non-national road network up to the standards of the Traffic Signs Manual. This memorandum also reminded local authorities of the need to provide road signposting so as to assist foreign tourists at points of entry to the country and to remedy any deficiencies in this regard as quickly as possible.

There has been significant investment in the non-national road network in recent years. Central funding has increased from £174.8 million in 1997 to £323.23 million in 2001, an increase of 85%. This level of investment has brought about marked improvements to the network, particularly through the restoration programme which aims to restore all local and regional roads in county council areas which were deficient in 1995 by the end of 2005. The significantly increased funding being provided to local authorities is intended to meet their ongoing needs in relation to the non-national road network which includes,inter alia, the provision of adequate signposting.