Road fund of €17m to be given to Sligo in 2018
Five national road projects to be worked on in the new year
The Government has almost doubled funding for Sligo's National primary roads this year.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) announced last week it's giving €17.6 million to Sligo County Council for its 2018 Roads Programme - the largest ever annual allocation to be given to them.
It compares with €9.5 million allocated in 2017.
The projects include the N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin upgrade, the N17 Tubbercurry to Collooney upgrade, the N4/N15 at Hughes Bridge in Sligo town, the N16 Manorhamilton road and the N59 Ballina road.
There was no mention however of any funding for the Western Distributor Road Phase 2 or the Eastern Garavogue Bridge.
Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Seamus Kilgannon, who has been a vocal campaigner for the Western Distributor Road at County Council meetings, was not concerned by its absence:
"I wouldn't read too much into it. This funding is for National Roads, the Western Distributor Road is a link road," he told The Sligo Champion, intimating that he was hopeful those two projects would be funded in the Spring under a different scheme.
He welcomed the doubling in funding for the National Roads however, saying the money would enable Sligo County Council to progress a number of important projects.
"The upgrading of our transport infrastructure is hugely significant for Sligo and the North West, particularly in terms of enterprise and tourism," he said.
The man responsible for the county's roads, Director of Services Tom Kilfeather, also welcomed the funding: "The 2018 allocation from the TII represents a huge investment in Sligo. Most importantly, we will see further progress on bringing the N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin scheme closer to construction," he said.
The N4 project was allocated ¤3million, a drop on 2017 as more money was given last year for land purchase along the new route. The €3million for this year will allow the Council to complete the red tape required for the tender process for the main contractor for the N4 upgrade.
Only €25,000 was allocated to the N17 but its significance lies not in the amount but in the inclusion - it means the N17 Tubbercurry to Collooney section is finally back on the table, after it was removed from the political agenda in 2002.
"While the allocation is modest, and will only allow us to carry out a limited review of existing documentation, the fact that the scheme is once more on the agenda is very welcome and a very significant development," said Tom Kilfeather.
Another major project which will go to tender mid-2018 is the N4/N15 Urban Improvement scheme which received €470,000.
It follows on from the N4 Hughes Bridge Widening Scheme finished last year and will see the section from the northern end of Hughes Bridge developed finishing north of the Rosses Point junction.
It will include upgrading to the road and surrounding junctions.
The N16 Sligo to Manorhamilton road is being upgraded on a phased basis over the next few years, with the first section a 2.5km stretch from Lugatober (past the Vet Lab) to Gortnagrelly.
This project was allocated €170,000 this year to advance the design with a view to having it shovel ready by mid-2019.
The N59 Corhawnagh to Crockacullion received €120,000 to allow that 4km stretch be re-designed and planned.
The rest of the funding, €12million, will be spent on improving footpaths along the national roads and almost €500,000 on maintenance costs.
The Council spokesperson said that the Maintenance costs were down by €152,000 on 2017 figures.
"This reduction is of some concern if it becomes the pattern for future years but it would be unfair not to recognise that the huge Pavement Improvement Programme for 2018 more than compensates for monies that would normally be spent on maintenance works on our network," they said.