THE motorway network will begin deteriorating from 2015 unless money is put into essential maintenance, the National Roads Authority (NRA) has warned.
Its incoming chairman, Cormac O'Rourke, told a Dail committee that while cutting back on repairs would not result in serious problems "for a year or two", a backlog of works could not be allowed to build up.
The State has spent €17bn over the past decade on upgrading the road network, including building new motorways and dual carriageways connecting the major towns and cities.
But much of this achievement would be "lost" unless money was set aside for essential works, including resurfacing, Mr O'Rourke said.
He added: "Cutting back on motorway maintenance expenditure is not a serious issue for a year or two.
"However, as the backlog builds up and deterioration accelerates, there comes a time when maintenance will have to receive funding priority if many of the achievements of the past are not to be lost."