Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (52, 53)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

150 Mr. O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the progress to date on the delivery of the inter-urban motorways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2312/04]

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Joe Costello

Question:

194 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Transport the latest projected timetable for the completion of the motorways provided for in the national development plan; the way in which these dates compare with those in the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2113/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 150 and 194 together.

The current position in relation to the upgrading of the five major inter-urban routes to motorway-high quality dual carriageway standard is that the M1 is expected to be fully complete by end 2006. Work is under way on major projects on the N7 — Monasterevin bypass and Limerick southern ring road phase 1, on the N8 — Cashel bypass and on the N4/N6 — Kilcock-Kinnegad. Work is expected to start this year on the Dundalk western bypass and Dundalk to Newry on the M1, on the Fermoy bypass — N8, the Waterford City bypass — N9-N25 and Naas road widening — N7. Completion of these projects will eliminate many of the major bottlenecks on these routes.

In addition, it is expected that compulsory purchase orders and environmental impact statements for the remaining projects in planning on these routes will either be approved by, or be before, An Bord Pleanála by the end of 2004. In regard to the national roads programme overall, it should be noted that since 2000 a total of 37 projects — over 250 kms — have been completed. Work is in progress on 17 projects — 150 kms — and another 16 projects — 150 kms — are at tender stage.

On the basis of current planning and funding the NRA estimate that the full completion of these routes, other than the M1, will extend to 2010 compared to 2006 as mandated in the NDP. In response to a request from me the NRA is considering, in the context of the multi-annual programme being prepared in response to the announcement by the Minister for Finance of a multi-annual funding framework for capital investment, the scope to bring forward the completion of the Cork-Dublin and Galway-Dublin routes to 2007.