No money for essential road repairs admits NRA
ESSENTIAL resurfacing work on some of the country's busiest roads will not be undertaken this year because of budget cuts.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) has confirmed it does not have the money to complete the works, and that failure to do so will ultimately result in higher costs.
Speaking at the Dail Transport committee, NRA chief executive Fred Barry said money for "network renewals" had been slashed by 83pc since the peak.
This year, the budget was €300m - half the allocation for 2012 when €600m was provided.
"The main funding stream, which covers network renewals such as pavement and bridge rehabilitation as well as improvement projects, has been reduced," he said.
"One impact of this is that the funding available for rehabilitation work this year is less than is required to maintain the network in a steady-state condition.
"Should the underfunding persist, the cost ultimately will exceed what it would have done to carry out the work in a timely manner."
There are also concerns that failure to carry out the works could pose safety risks to motorists and other road users.
The Road Safety Authority says that dangerous roads account for about 3pc of all fatal accidents.
Mr Barry said that safety issues had not been raised to date, and that money was being directed where needed.
However, he warned that the cost of completing repairs would increase the longer they were left.
"That work is best done on a progressive basis, doing preventative work, because a pavement surface unfixed retains water and you end up having to do a much more expensive job," he said.
There are no safety implications for the current year...(but) there is work not being done this year we would have liked to."