Dáil Éireann - Volume 618 - 27 April, 2006

Written Answers. - Road Network.

Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the amount spent to date on upgrading the major inter-urban routes, as set out in the roads programme under the national development plan; the estimated total amount of expenditure required to complete the upgrading of these routes; the anticipated completion date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15806/06]

  Mr. Cullen: Very significant progress has been made to date in transforming Ireland’s major inter-urban network to motorway and high-quality dual carriageway standard. The National Roads Authority, NRA, which has statutory responsibility for the implementation of the national roads programme, has informed me that on the five major inter-urban routes, namely, Dublin to Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and the Northern Ireland Border, 15 projects have been completed and opened since the commencement of the current national development plan.

I am further informed that the total expenditure incurred on these projects was approximately €1.5 billion. In addition, projects currently under construction on the major inter-urban network have a value of approximately €1.1 billion [1116] with a further €500 million worth of projects about to have construction contracts signed. Private funding of close to €500 million has also been invested in these routes.

I also understand from the NRA that all of the remaining schemes on the major inter-urban routes have now received the necessary statutory approvals to allow the projects to proceed to construction. This clears the way for these remaining schemes to proceed to the tender stage. The final cost of these schemes will only be known once the tender processes have been completed. In line with the objective set in Transport 21, the NRA is on target to complete all of the major inter-urban routes by 2010.