The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the Council. As the Deputy will be aware, this is a crucially important project to Athy and the south Leinster region. Unfortunately during the 14 years of Fianna Fáil led government that preceded this Government, when there was unprecedented funding available for roads projects, this project was not meaningfully advanced.
In contrast, the Government recently approved a €1m allocation to Kildare County Council to carry out design works on the Athy Bypass and prepare its submission to An Bord Pleanála. Once this work is done, funds will be made available to Kildare County Council to bring this project through An Bord Pleanála and to construction. These funds will be made available through my Department’s Strategic Roads Grand fund. Given the issues that are involved in the planning process, it is not possible to be definitive on timelines at this particular point. This is the case for all major road projects.