Written Answers. - Roads Projects.

John Gormley

Question:

112 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Transport if an independent economic or transport planning analysis has been carried out in the Government's proposal to build five new national roads involving some 800 kilometres of new motorway or dual carriageways, which was in contravention of the National Roads Authority's recommendation in the 1998 national roads needs study, that the existing national road network should be upgraded over a 16 year period. [2691/03]

In determining the strategic framework set out in the NDP for the development of the national road network, which provides for the upgrading of the five key inter-urban routes to motorway or high quality dual carriageway standard, the national roads needs study was taken into account by the Government. That study, though published in 1998, was based on 1996 data and a modest design standard. Nevertheless it provided for the upgrading of these five routes to motorway or dual carriageway standard to a substantial degree.

Having regard to developments since 1996, the views of economic and regional development interests, and the importance of high quality inter-urban road links between the main urban centres in supporting economic and social development, and achieving more balanced regional development the Government decided to provide for the upgrading of these five key routes to motorway or high quality dual carriageway standard in their entirety. The individual road development projects involved will, as part of the detailed planning and design process applicable to all major road projects, be subject to assessment and evaluation, including cost/benefit analysis, in accordance with Department of Finance guidelines on the approval and management of capital projects.