I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 to 173, inclusive, together.
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 a number of regional and local road improvement projects were identified for development, subject to necessary approvals, in the NDP and the construction of a Coonagh to Knockalisheen Distributor Road (CKDR) is one of those schemes. Even though the CKDR was submitted and approved by An Bord Pleanála as a stand alone scheme, I am aware that the scheme is sometimes referred to locally as Phase 1 of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road.
Under the Public Spending Code, capital projects are subject to review and approval at a number of stages. As required under the Code, Limerick City and County Council submitted a recommendation regarding the award of a contract for the construction of the main CKDR scheme. Following careful consideration of this project, and close engagement with the Moyross community and Limerick City and County Council, the full completion of the Coonagh – Knockalisheen Road has now been approved. This road scheme will take account of the overall development needs of Limerick, and will be complemented by sustainable transport features such as improved pedestrian / cycle accessibility for Moyross, improved Active Travel measures linking LIT, Mary Immaculate College, UL, and City Centre and the designation of one lane of the Dual Carriageway in each direction as a bus lane.
As regards the Limerick Northern Distributor Road, under the NDP there is no Exchequer regional and local road grant funding in place to progress the scheme through the planning process to construction stage.