Tuesday, 14 October 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): The current positioning on the upgrading of the major inter-urban routes is as follows: M1 – Dublin to Border: This route is complete to motorway standard to south of Dundalk. The two remaining projects on this route are well advanced in planning with work expected to get under way on the Dundalk western by-pass in early 2004.
N7 – Dublin to Limerick and N8 – Dublin to Cork: Completion of the Kildare and Monasterevin by-passes will complete this route to motorway standard between Naas and Portlaoise; the Watergrasshill by-pass, N8, was opened to traffic recently while work is under way on the Cashel by-pass, N6, and the Limerick southern ring road phase 1; and the upgrading of the N7 between Kill and Naas is at tender stage.
Planning and design work is proceeding on the remaining projects: N4/N6 – Galway to Dublin:  Work is under way on the Kilcock-Kinnegad by-pass and the Loughrea by-pass is at tender stage and planning and design work is under way on the remaining projects. N9 – Waterford to Dublin: Subject to availability of funding Kildare County Council is aiming to publish the compulsory purchase order and environmental impact statements shortly for the northern section of this route. The compulsory purchase order and associated environmental impact statement for the southern section are expected to be completed in early 2004. Overall, the NRA estimates that by the end of this year, approximately 30% of the major inter-urban routes will be complete to motorway – dual carriageway standard with work under way on another 12%.
Minister for Transport (Mr. Brennan): As the Deputy may be aware, the national spatial strategy supports the development of a high quality network of roads and public transport services to facilitate more balanced regional development. As the predominant mode of internal transport it is clear that a good well functioning road network is critical in underpinning ongoing growth and development.
The main strategic road infrastructure upgrade proposals identified in the national spatial strategy i.e. upgrading of the main inter-urban links and upgrade works on N2, N3, N4, N11, etc., are reflected in the National Roads Authority's current national roads development programme for the next four to five years.
However, the national spatial strategy has a longer time perspective than the roads programme currently in construction and active planning. Much of this work however will extend beyond the current national development plan but will be taken into account in the forward planning of the roads programme. The national spatial strategy implementation mechanisms – regional planning guidelines, the integrated development frameworks for gateways and development strategies for development links – will also assist in ensuring that the national roads programme supports the implementation of the national spatial strategy.
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