TRANSPORT MINISTER Leo Varadkar has announced a €100m fund for road safety and upgrade works, with 30 accident black spots to undergo improvement works this year.
The fund is to be used to “improve safety at major black spots, such as removing bad bends or hazardous conditions,” Varadkar said.
“In a number of cases the funding will be used to remove bottlenecks and tackle congestion.”
The works will be conducted under the National Roads Authority’s Work Programme for 2012, and will create work to the equivalent of around 1,200 jobs.
The programme outlines 60 projects to be undertaken in the coming years, 30 of which will see work begin this year.
The remaining projects will be brought through the planning process with construction beginning whenever finances allow.
“Given that Exchequer funding is currently so limited, my main priority this year is to maintain roads and prioritise safety projects, followed by road improvements, and finally by new projects,” Varadkar said.
Works have already begun on a Belturbet bypass on the N3 in Co Cavan; grade separation works on the N4 at The Downs, outside Mullingar; the N5 Longford bypass; the N22/N69 Tralee bypass; a grade separation on the N25 Cork South ring road; and the new N52 from Carrickbridge to Dalystown in Co Westmeath.
Construction on a bypass for Ballaghaderreen in Co Roscommon, work on the N11 from Arklow to Rathnew in Co Wicklow, and an upgrade of the Newlands Cross junction on the N7 in south Dublin are all expected to begin later in the year.
National Roads Authority chief executive Fred Barry said the funding would enable the NRA to address “some of the worst safety challenges on the legacy road network.”
Aside from the €100m fund, another €18m is to be spent on other ‘small-scale projects’ – including the resurfacing of some roads, minor safety works, and improvement of signage.
A separate €18m has been assigned for remedial and repair works on bridges.