Thursday, 11 April 2019
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design, procurement and construction of individual national roads is a matter for TII in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. As part of TII’s above remit, TII's role includes appraising estimated costs for projects.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's (D/Per) Public Spending Code (PSC) and my Department's Capital Appraisal Framework (CAF) provides the framework for assessing road capital projects and where projects are in excess of 100 million, Government approval is required before contracts may be awarded.
My Department is currently in receipt of a revised Business Case (BC) for the Dunkettle interchange and the BC is currently being reviewed by my Department’s Strategic Research and Analysis Division (SRAD). The BC will then be forwarded to D/Per for further review and if the project meets the requirements of the CAF and the PSC, Government approval for the project will be sought.
In terms of the estimated costs for the project, I have referred your question to TII for a more detailed and direct reply on this specific issue. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.
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 successful implementation of the new National Planning Framework (NPF), provides the strategic and financial framework for a number of Strategic Regional and Local Roads Strategic roads projects for the period from 2018 to 2027.
The Thurles Inner Relief Road is included amongst a number of regional and local road schemes that were identified as being at various stages of Project Appraisal. Given the many competing demands, the scope for progressing an additional pipeline of projects within the plan will be assessed as the NDP progresses.
The preliminary design for Thurles Inner Relief Road is complete and planning approval was granted for the scheme in July 2014.
In accordance with the Public Spending Code and the Department’s Common Appraisal Framework the project requires preliminary and detailed appraisal. Preliminary appraisal is initially required to be submitted by the sponsoring agency (Road Authority) to the Department for approval. As the project cost is in excess of €5m a detailed appraisal will then be required to be prepared and submitted to the Department’s Road Division and Strategic Research and Analysis Division (SRAD) for approval.
Following DTTaS’s confirmation that the Project Appraisal Proposals complies with the Public Spending Code and the Common Appraisal Framework, the scheme can then be considered for progression to the next phase of implementation and subject to adequate availability of funding.
The first essential step 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.