CLONTIBRET TO BORDER ROAD SCHEME IN LIMBO AS MINISTER ORDERS NRA TO SUSPEND PROJECTS

12 August 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The construction phase of the controversial N2 Clontibret to Northern Ireland Border road scheme was effectively cast into limbo this week when Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar called a halt to major road developments because of the severe spending constraints facing the Government.
The Irish Independent reported on Tuesday that the Minister had instructed the National Roads Authority to shelve 45 projects, 32 on the national primary route and 13 of national secondary status.
The Clontibret to Northern Ireland route, which has generated a high degree of local opposition manifesting itself in a ‘Don’t Bypass The Bypass’ campaign organisation, will, it is now believed, continue through its current planning phases but will then be sidelined pending a Government decision for construction to proceed.
It is understood that only six major road projects will now commence nationwide in 2011, including a by-pass development in Belturbet in Co Cavan.
Monaghan Co Council appointed consulting engineers Grontmij to design the Clontibret road improvement project in late 2008. A recommendation as to the preferred route of the project is expected to come before the Council later this year.
Minister Varadkar said that he had instructed the NRA to take all road projects to the end of their current stage of planning, and to suspend them at that stage.
He added: “In my view, we should focus the limited resources we have on maintaing existing infrastructure and proceeding with the small number of shovel-ready projects that we can afford to proceed with.
“I do not believe that it is appropriate to continue to spend millions of euro planning projects when we do not know if we can fund them.
“It will come as great disappointment to local communities and business interests that projects have been suspended, but I am sure the public will see the sense in this policy change.”
The Dept of Transport have indicated that it is likely major capital expenditure on road programmes will not recommence until 2015.
The National Roads Authority have stated that bringing the planning process on projects to the preferred route stage will “define where the future route will go, and remove speculation about location, thus impacting less landowners.”
Full report in the Northern Standard

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