The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. State grants, where applicable, are intended to supplement the funding allocated to the maintenance and improvement of roads by local authorities from their own resources.
The National Development Plan (NDP) does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network but funding is not yet at the level needed for the adequate maintenance and renewal of regional and local roads. For this reason the primary focus for capital investment continues to be the maintenance and renewal of the network with some limited investment in road improvement schemes. In this context 12 regional and local road improvement projects were identified for development, subject to necessary approvals, in the NDP and the construction of a Distributor Road to the south of Athy connecting to the N78 is one of those schemes.
Under the Public Spending Code and the terms and conditions applying to regional and local road grants, capital projects are subject to review and approval at a number of stages. As required under the project appraisal process, Kildare County Council has submitted the contract documentation for the main Athy scheme construction contract to my Department for review. The project will be subject to further consideration before a decision is made on whether the tender process proceeds.