independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Residents may have to share cost of repairing roads – or grab a shovel

THE public may be asked to get out their shovels and wallets if they want their local road repaired.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says a new scheme will allow people to help share the cost of repairing local roads – or do it themselves – from next year.

Between €5m and €10m will be made available from the Government, with further funding to be sourced from the public.

He added it would allow minor works such as potholes to be repaired which might otherwise not be addressed.

"There are proposals to introduce a new community involvement scheme for regional and local roads on a pilot basis in 2013 involving an exchequer contribution of between €5m and €10m," he said.

"This revised scheme should allow communities and the State to share the cost, or the workload, involved in repairing minor roads which wouldn't otherwise be improved."

Similar schemes are already in place in local authorities.

Laois County Council has a Community Involvement in Roadworks Scheme, which applies to all public roads in the county.

This scheme allows residents who want to have road improvements carried out to part-fund the cost of the works jointly with the council.

In Roscommon, at least 25pc of the cost must be met by local residents who want the work carried out.

The Department of Transport said details, which were still being worked out, were due to be announced in a few weeks.

A spokesman said the community element of the scheme was not yet clear, but money would be available to local authorities to employ local contractors.

"There used to be a local improvement scheme, and it's a similar idea where there's community involvement but it's being developed," a spokesman said.

"It's being looked at, and funding is being provided. It's very early days."

The scheme is expected to apply to local roads, including country lanes and boreens.

Meanwhile, a €22m new road improvement scheme from Carrick Bridge to Clonfad Road (Dalystown) in Co Westmeath was opened yesterday.

The N52 improvements cover 5.6kms of single carriageway, and will reduce travel times between both areas by about one-third.

Mr Varadkar said it would "significantly" improve road safety, adding that the work was completed three months ahead of schedule.

He added that four road schemes would be completed next year: the Belturbet bypass, Cork Southern Ring Road interchanges upgrade, Tralee bypass and a section of the N4 in Co Westmeath.

Irish Independent

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