Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Taking account of available funds, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) plans and delivers the National Roads Programme with local authorities. The development of the National Roads Programme takes account of all relevant Government policies and programmes including the National Development Plan (NDP), the Climate Action Plan and the Programme for Government.
In the new NDP launched on 4th October, approximately €5.1 billion is earmarked for new national road projects to 2030. This funding will contribute to Enhanced Regional Accessibilityacross the country as well as Compact Growthwhich are national strategic outcomes in the National Planning Framework. The funding will provide for the development of a number of national road projects, including the completion of projects which are already at construction stage, as well as the development of a number of others.
The N/M20 project is included in the list of projects to be progressed in the NDP. This year TII allocated €5 million to Limerick City and County Council to progress the scheme.
The corridor options to augment and/or replace the existing N20 Cork-Limerick road are currently being progressed. These options include a new motorway, the M20, or the upgrading of various sections of the existing N20. These road options largely follow the existing route corridor. Two rail scenarios are also being considered as potential solutions in improving Cork-Limerick connectivity.
Following a recent public consultation on route options, the scheme is currently at Route Options Selection stage. All the options mentioned above are being considered, with the preferred transport corridor expected to be announced by TII in the first half of 2022.
Following this, work on design and environmental evaluation will be undertaken by the TII project team, and the Business Case for the scheme which is required under the Public Spending Code will be developed. The Business Case will include a cost-benefit analysis and is expected to be submitted to my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in 2023 for review prior to any Government decision. This process will include an independent review as part of the External Assurance Process for Major Public Investment Projects. Subject to Government approval, the submission of any necessary statutory documents for the project to An Bord Pleanála would follow. The timing for the following steps would depend on the outcome of the planning process.
24. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his Department intends progressing immediately to the next stage of the development of the ring road around Galway city; the steps that will be involved in progressing this project to construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61419/21]
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Taking account of available funds, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) plans and delivers the National Roads Programme with local authorities. This occurs in line with Government policy, including the Programme for Government, National Development Plan (NDP) and Climate Action Plan.
In the new NDP launched on 4th October, approximately €5.1 billion is earmarked for new national road projects to 2030. This funding will enable Enhanced Regional Accessibility across the country and Compact Growth, among other objectives. The funding will provide for the development of a number of national road projects, including the completion of projects which are already at construction stage and the development of a number of others.
The N6 Galway City Ring Road project is included in the list of projects to be progressed during the period covered by the NDP. The proposed project comprises of 12km of motorway and 6km of single carriageway. The route would run between the existing N6 at Coolagh (northeast of the city) to the existing Ballymoneen Road (in the northwest of the city) and continues as a single carriageway road for a further 6km of protected road, west of Bearna. The new orbital route would travel around the city and include a new bridge crossing of the River Corrib.
Galway County Council published the road scheme and submitted the planning documentation to An Bord Pleanála for approval in October 2018. An Bord Pleanála wrote to Galway County Council in April 2019 requesting further information in relation to the environmental impacts of the scheme, which was submitted in August 2019. As requested by An Bord Pleanála, Galway County Council also published this information for inspection by the public.
An Oral Hearing commenced on 18thFebruary 2020 and concluded on 4thNovember 2020, inclusive of a 7-month gap in proceedings due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Galway County Council received planning approval from An Bord Pleanála for the project on 7thDecember.
Galway County Council will now study the conditions in the planning approval. If there are no legal challenges, the project will move to the next stage, to provide for land acquisition and to develop a strategy to enable procurement of a construction contractor(s). The project will be assessed under the Public Spending Code under a range of criteria, before a Government decision is made on whether the project will finally proceed to construction. This process shall include an independent review as part of the External Assurance Process for Major Public Investment Projects.