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. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants. Each local authority is the contracting authority for the purpose of implementation of regional and local road improvement projects.
The National Development Plan (NDP), which has been developed by Government to underpin the implementation of the National Planning Framework (NPF), provides the strategic and financial framework for investment in the road network for the period from 2018 to 2027. The bulk of the funding being provided is earmarked for maintenance and renewal of the regional and local road network with some limited investment in road improvement projects. The NDP does make provision for the implementation of 12 regional and local road improvement projects, subject to necessary approvals, in the period to 2023. Outside of that, some limited provision is being made in the regional and local road capital budget for the appraisal of a pipeline of upgrade projects. This is intended to cover the appraisal of projects for development, if possible, in the later years of the National Development Plan. The scope for carrying pipeline projects through to development stage is dependent on the future availability of funding.
The Thurles Inner Relief Road was mentioned in the NDP as an example of projects proposed by local authorities which were at various stages of planning and appraisal.
In accordance with the Public Spending Code and the Department’s Common Appraisal Framework the project requires preliminary and detailed appraisal. The first essential step, therefore, is that a preliminary appraisal for this project is submitted to the Department by Tipperary County Council. Progression beyond that stage will depend on the quality of the appraisal, the overall availability of funding and the quality of the business cases relating to other proposed projects from around the country.