Written Answers - Road Network

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 743 No. 1

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  547.  Deputy Seán Kyne  Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   if he has been in communication with officials from the Court of the European Union, previously the European Court of Justice, to attempt to expedite the decision in relation to the integrity of special areas of conservation on which the Galway city outer bypass is dependent. [28771/11]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects, including the N6 Galway City Outer Bypass, are matters for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

The main part of the Galway City Outer Bypass scheme was approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2008 but cannot proceed as this approval was the subject of judicial review proceedings which have culminated with a referral by the Supreme Court to the European Court of Justice of the question of the correct interpretation of Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive and of Regulation 30 of the Habitats Regulations 1997.

The Habitats Directive forms part of Irish Planning legislation which comes under the remit of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. This case will be progressed in accordance with the normal procedures and it is not a matter in which I have any role. More generally, it should be noted that I am currently organising a roundtable meeting with the various public authorities involved in this project.

  548.  Deputy Seán Kyne  Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   if he can confirm, subject to planning, that the Galway city outer bypass will be a public-private partnership project; and the likelihood of the road being a tolled one. [28776/11]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects, including the N6 Galway City Outer Bypass, are matters for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Accordingly, the identification and selection of suitable projects for implementation on a public private partnership basis is a matter in the first instance for the NRA.

In addition, the statutory power to levy tolls on national roads, to make toll bye-laws and to enter into toll agreements with private investors in respect of national roads is vested in the NRA under Part V of the Roads Acts 1993 (as amended by the Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Roads Act 2007). I am currently organising a roundtable meeting with the various public authorities involved in this project.

  549.  Deputy Seán Kyne  Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   his views that the first part of the Galway city outer bypass, subject to planning and funding, could proceed to the N59 road, independent of the second part which goes to Barna and is being delayed due to judicial proceedings at European level. [28779/11]

[402]Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects, including the Galway City Outer Bypass, are matters for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a matter in the first instance for the NRA in accordance with Section 19 of the Roads Act. Therefore, I have referred the question to the NRA for further reply to the Deputy. The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

The Galway City Outer Bypass project from the M6 to the N59, while approved by an Bord Pleanála, is currently on hold pending a ruling on the case from the European Court of Justice.

  550.  Deputy Seán Kyne  Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   his views on whether it is imperative that the Moycullen bypass be in place when the first half of the Galway city outer bypass is constructed to the N59 at Bushypark, Galway. [28780/11]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects, and the sequencing of their construction, are matters for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NRA for direct reply. The Deputy should advise my private office if he does not receive a reply within 10 working days.

  551.  Deputy Dominic Hannigan  Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport  Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar   if he will consider implementing an audit of all national roads that have seen their speed limit cut by more than 30% in the past five years including an analysis of the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28796/11]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Statutory responsibility for the application of speed limits is vested in members of county and city councils. The Road Traffic Act 2004 establishes default speed limits that apply to defined categories of roads and which can only be changed by county and city councils through the making of special speed limit bye-laws. Section 9 of the 2004 Act sets out the range of special speed limits that may be applied by local authorities through bye-laws.

In accordance with Actions identified in the Road Safety Strategy 2007 — 2012, my Department issued guidelines on speed limits in January of this year to all local authorities. The onus is on local authorities to take these guidelines into account in relation to the speed limits to be set for all roads in their area of responsibility. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide advice and guidance in relation to the making of speed limit bye-laws by county and city councils for the purpose of applying special speed limits. After taking the guidelines into account it is considered best practice for local authority officials to advise the elected members of their respective councils on what a suitable speed limit regime should be for different roads in their areas of responsibility. For new roads the local authority will have the relevant information on the speed for which the road was designed.

As part of a Direction given by the Minister in January 2011, all local authorities were requested to undertake an assessment of special speed limits in their functional areas. The results of that assessment are expected to be available to my Department before the end of 2011.


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