LOSSES mounted last year at the company that operates the tolled €500m Waterford city bypass as traffic volumes continued to fall short of expectations.
Accounts filed with the Companies Office show that Celtic Roads Group (Waterford) Ltd recorded a pre-tax loss of €10.3m last year and this followed a pre-tax loss of €16m in 2010. The losses narrowed after revenues increased from €7.3m to €11.8m in the 12 months to the end of December.
The Public Private Partnership (PPP) project includes the Suir River Crossing cable-stayed bridge, 23km of dual carriageway and 14km of single carriageway.
The scheme officially opened in October 2009 after taking three years to build.
The PPP agreement with the National Roads Authority ( NRA) runs until 2036. Separate figures from the NRA show that the average daily traffic did improve on the route last year, increasing by 26pc from 5,217 to 6,578 vehicles.
The figures show that the firm's operating losses last year narrowed from €5.3m to €1.3m. However, interest payments totalling €9m resulted in pre-tax profits of €10.3m and a tax credit of €1.2m resulted in a loss of €9m for the year.
The loss takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €9.5m. The firm has loans totalling €227m – €160m in bank loans and €67m in shareholder loans.
It costs drivers of motor cars €1.80 to use the tolled route, while drivers of trucks with four axels pay €5.90.