The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has confirmed the allocation of €554 million to local authorities through Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for national roads and greenways in 2023.
The Department of Transport is providing €491 million of Exchequer capital funds for national roads to local authorities which will see allocations for 34 major projects across the country.
An allocation of €34.85 million is being provided for national roads maintenance. The 2023 funding allocations are made having regard for the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2030, which balances investment in transport against other priorities of Government over the lifetime of the Plan.
This year, priority is being given to the ongoing progression of local by-passes around some of the country’s best known market towns like Listowel in County Kerry or Moycullen in County Galway, which are nearing completion, to new bypasses around towns like Slane in County Meath or Foxford, County Mayo, which are at earlier stages of development. This is in line with the government’s Towns Centre First policy, facilitating more people-friendly development and ensuring that the towns can thrive and develop without 24/7 car congestion. These projects will progress rapidly.
Other priority criteria for allocation include the protection and renewal of the existing network, progression of major projects in or near construction and progression of those projects which are further along in the development pipeline. Given the competing demands for funding and prioritisation rationale, some projects will not advance as quickly this year, but will remain in the NDP.
Separately, funding of approximately €63 million through TII’s Greenway Programme will see the ongoing development of around 70 Greenway projects around the country. The funding will see construction continue on a number of projects which will be completed in 2023, with other projects moving through planning and design stage.
This funding forms part of the overall Programme for Government commitment of €360 million per annum for walking and cycling, so that more people can choose a safe, sustainable and healthier alternative to private car use.
On the national roads allocation, Minister Ryan said, “these allocations are an important step in a pathway of planned investment in our national road network over the remainder of this decade. As ever, there are competing demands for funding allocations for national roads and we had twice as many applications as we had budget for.”
“A priority for the government is to rapidly advance safe, clean, liveable towns and communities as part of our Towns First policy. The investment in by-passes particularly will help to take choking traffic out of our town centres, giving them back to residents, to school children, to shoppers and visitors. It will also provide scope for greater active travel options (walking and cycling) in town centres. This will be transformative for town centres, providing an opportunity to meet our housing challenges and our environmental targets.”
Minister Chambers commented, “these road allocations will allow us to build on the investment that has taken place over the last 20 years which has helped improve regional connectivity and has supported economic development across the country. Continued investment will also ensure improved safety of road users. With 156 deaths on our roads and 1,292 people seriously injured last year continued investment is crucial. Over the lifetime of the NDP, €2.9 billion has been earmarked for the protection and renewal of our existing road network.”
On Greenways, the Ministers said that it was a testament to the priorities of this government that it was continuing to allocate more than €1 million a day to walking and cycling programmes across the country. In addition to the €63 million allocated to greenways today, the Ministers announced funding of €290 million for approximately 1,200 walking and cycling projects across the country.
Minister Ryan said, “greenway projects of national and regional significance progressing to completion during 2023 include three sections of the Grand Canal Greenway and a section of the Clifden to Recess Greenway. Construction work will continue on sections of the Clew Bay, Waterford to New Ross and Navan to Kingscourt Greenway projects with some proposed sectional openings. This is a very exciting time for cycling and walking infrastructure in Ireland which will provide greater facilities for leisure and tourism cycling in the coming years.”
Minister Chambers commented, “I’m delighted to announce the local authority allocations today which will be used for the further roll out of the Greenways programme in 2023. Over 50 kilometres of Greenway will progress in the planning approval process. A further large portfolio of other projects will progress through early planning, design and appraisal. The Athlone Active Travel Bridge, which is a major piece of cycling infrastructure, forming part of the Dublin to Galway Greenway will be completed in the first half of this year.”