Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
Road Improvement Schemes
162. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if funding will be allocated for a joint plan between Leitrim and Roscommon county councils to construct a pedestrian foot bridge on Rooskey bridge in the interests of ongoing health and safety concerns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43363/17]
The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the local authority's own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the relevant local authorities.
The Department initiated a regional road bridge inspection programme in 2011 to assess the condition of bridges on the network and this has been followed up with a Bridge Rehabilitation Grant programme. Under the Bridge Rehabilitation Grant scheme local authorities submit a list of bridges in order of priority for consideration for funding. Within the constraints of the overall roads budget, allocations are made to local authorities for remedial bridge works. Given the current spending constraints it is the Department's policy when grant applications are received from local authorities for bridge improvement works to prioritise rehabilitation works over widening projects and proposed new bridges.
As regards higher cost bridge projects these have to be considered under the Specific Grant Programme. This Grant Programme was curtailed significantly during the recession and while the Capital Plan 2016-2021 does provide for the gradual build up in funding for the road network it will take some years yet to reach the level required for the adequate maintenance and renewal of the network. There is, therefore, limited scope at present for funding projects under the Specific Grant Programme.
Any projects proposed by local authorities for consideration under this Programme will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with particular consideration given to higher cost Bridge Rehabilitation Works, significant safety schemes and improvement works that promote employment. All projects put forward by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Public Spending Code and the Department’s Capital Appraisal Framework and it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind.
As regards Roosky bridge, Leitrim County Council wrote to the Department in January this year regarding the provision of funding for 4 bridges. In its response the Department indicated that if any of these bridges were to be considered for funding under the Specific Grant programme the first step was for the Council to undertake a preliminary appraisal as required in the Department’s Common Appraisal Framework for Transport Projects and Programmes. A preliminary appraisal has not been submitted to date in relation to Roosky bridge.