Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (102, 103)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

167 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the progress on the delivery of the inter-urban motorways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6623/04]

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Brian O'Shea

Question:

171 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport if the new target date of 2007 set for the completion of full motorways compares with the projected timetable provided in the national development plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6793/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 171 together.

The current position with the upgrading of the five major inter-urban routes to motorway or high quality dual carriageway standard is that the M1 is expected to be completed 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 sections of the M1, the Fermoy bypass on the N8, Waterford city bypass on the N9-N25 and the Naas Road widening on the 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 end 2004. With regard to the national roads programme overall, it should be noted that since 2000 a total of 37 projects, over 250kms, have been completed. Work is in progress on 17 projects, 150kms, and another 16 projects, 150kms, are at tender stage.

On the basis of current planning and funding the NRA estimates that the 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.

Question No. 168 answered with QuestionNo. 126.