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Saturday 23 August 2014

Bad roads remain potholed as funds go to storm repairs

Mark O'Regan

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

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Bad roads remain potholed as funds go to storm repairs

VITAL work on some of the country's deadliest accident blackspots has been shelved because the money must go towards storm-damage repairs.

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The Sunday Independent has learnt that some of the cash which might have been used to improve a number of deathtrap roads and dangerous bends is no longer available.

It will be swallowed up as part of a multimillion euro repair package following the flooding this winter. Two years after a detailed plan to carry out crucial road improvement work on 60 different locations was announced, only 31 have been completed.

A number of road repair projects planned for counties Cavan, Donegal, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Roscommon, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, and Wicklow, have now been postponed indefinitely.

Back in January 2012, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar announced he was making €100m available for the much- needed programme.

At the time, Mr Varadkar said there was finance to fund half the required projects – but the other half would only go ahead if additional monies became available. However, it has now emerged that repair work on 29 "blackspots'' has been put on the long finger because of dwindling cash reserves.

It is understood the National Roads Authority has been told the estimated €100m needed to carry out the next phase of work is not available.

In his budget speech, Mr Varadkar said his priority in 2014 would be "maintenance and repair" of local, regional and national roads. But a spokeswoman has admitted winter storm damaged has put further pressure on an already hard-pressed budget.

Sunday Independent

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