Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (23)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

23. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for future investment in the primary routes of County Meath. [48149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

Firstly, I would like to explain that, as Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, development and construction of individual national road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

The National Development Plan (NDP), which has been developed by Government to underpin the implementation of the National Planning Framework, provides the strategic and financial framework for Tll's national roads programme for the period from 2018 to 2027. The focus of Tll's activities over the coming years is, therefore, being directed towards the development of the major national road improvement schemes that are listed in the NDP.

Following consultation with TII, I can provide an overview of national road developments in County Meath, to which the Deputy refers.

Major Schemes

The proposed N2 Slane Bypass is included amongst a number of major national road schemes that are identified for development during the period of the NDP. The scheme is also contained in the National Transport Authority (NTA) Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area.

The bypass is intended to alleviate traffic congestion in the village and to reduce the potential for serious road traffic accidents due to the steep approaches to the very narrow Slane bridge and high number of commercial vehicles using the route.

The project is currently at Phase 2, route selection stage. Meath County Council has also commissioned a supplementary assessment of East-West options in relation to Slane to assess the N51 traffic implications. In that regard, Meath County Council held Public Consultation No. 3 (Emerging Preferred Option) for the scheme in Slane only last week (14 November 2019).  Following consideration of the Public Consultation on the emerging preferred option and the feedback and information gathered, the Options Selection process will be finalised. This process is well advanced and it is anticipated that the preferred route option will be selected later this year.  Once the preferred route is identified, the scheme will be progressed through planning and design.  A Business Case will then be prepared for the approval of both my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform. In addition, the statutory documentation will be prepared, including the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR).  Meath County Council has indicated that the scheme is intended to be lodged with An Bord Pleanála in 2021, post the adoption of the new County Development Plan.

TII has provided an allocation of €1m to Meath County Council for the scheme this year. 

The proposed N2 Rath Roundabout to Kilmoon Cross scheme is also included amongst a number of major national road schemes that were identified in the NDP for progression through pre-appraisal and early planning during 2018. In this regard, the Project Pre-Appraisal for the proposed scheme has been approved by my Department.

This approximately 6 km scheme will address the existing operational and safety problems on this section of the N2, which has an annual average daily traffic of circa 16,000 vehicles per day and experiences considerable peak time congestion.

Meath County Council has engaged the services of Technical Advisors to commence the planning and design of the scheme. This year, TII has provided an allocation to Meath Co. Co. of €250,000 to progress the scheme. 

I am advised that it typically takes three to five years from this point through Phases 1 – 4 of the Project Management Guidelines, in order to have a scheme ready to submit to An Bord Pleanála for planning approval.

Minor Schemes

The N51 Dunmoe Phase 2 scheme comprises the construction of approximately 4 km of single carriageway and associated ancillary and consequential works, including the provision of side roads, accommodation works/roads, junctions, from the townland of Blackcastle Demesne to the townlands of Cruicetown and Pighill in County Meath. An Oral Hearing was held on 12th July 2018 and An Bord Pleanala confirmed the CPO for the scheme in October 2018. Meath Co Co are currently progressing the final design and tender documents and intend to go to tender for this scheme in 2020. TII has provided an allocation to Meath Co. Co. of €150,000 for the scheme this year.

The proposed N52 Grange to Clontail improvement scheme involves the realignment of approximately 3 km section of the existing N52 route.  The scheme will commence at an appropriate tie-in point at the Townland of Grange to the west and extend to an appropriate tie-in point at the Townland of Clontail. The expected benefits fo the scheme are -

- to reduce the occurrences of road collisions on the N52 by, for example, providing  increased lengths of overtaking opportunities;

- to reduce journey times on the N52; and

- to adequately cater for projected increase in traffic volumes.

The scheme is currently progressing through the early planning and design stage and this year, TII has provided an allocation to Meath Co. Co. of €100,000 for this work.