For Oral Answer on : 01/02/2024
Question Number(s): 37 Question Reference(s): 4452/24
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Transport to report on the current situation with respect to proposals to develop transport projects in east Cork (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.
(Details Supplied) Proposals to bypass Castlemartyr and Killeagh along the N25 national route, to upgrade the N25 between Carrigtwohill and Midleton and to upgrade the R624 access road to Cobh and the Great Island.
As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. This is also subject to the Public Spending Code and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of these projects.
I can confirm that €800,000 was provided in 2023 for the N25 Midleton to Youghal scheme, which includes bypasses of the villages of Castlemartyr and Killeagh. There was no grant allocation for the N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton scheme in 2023. As with all national roads projects in the NDP, the delivery programme for these projects will be kept under review for 2024 and considered in terms of the overall funding envelope available to TII. The allocations for national roads for 2024 are expected to be announced in the near future.
Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply updating you as to the status of this project. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.
Regarding the upgrade of the R624 Cobh Road, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993, each local authority has statutory responsibility for the improvement and maintenance of their regional and local roads. Works on those roads are funded from local authorities’ own resources and are supplemented by State Road grants. Of these grants, the vast majority (approximately 90%) are targeted at the maintenance and renewal of the network with c. 10% of the remaining funding invested in new roads/bridges or for road realignments.
Any new road projects that seek State funding are assessed by the Department on a case-by-case basis. All projects proposed by local authorities for consideration must comply with the requirements of the Infrastructure Guidelines (formerly the Public Spending Code) and the Department’s Transport Appraisal Framework. Given the limited funding available for regional and local road improvement works it is important for local authorities to prioritise projects within their overall area of responsibility with these requirements in mind.
In this regard, Cork County Council submitted an initial project appraisal to the Department in 2019 regarding the upgrade of the R624 Cobh Road. The project, as submitted, includes upgrading the existing N25-R624 interchange, the provision of a dual carriageway from the interchange to Marino Point, widening of Slatty Bridge, the provision of a new bridge crossing to Great Island at Belvelly and upgrading the existing R624 from Marino Point to Cobh.
The estimated cost of this scheme was more than €100 million, with possible staged implementation.
In line with Government requirements Cork County Council also produced a Strategic Assessment Report (SAR) for the Great Island Connectivity Scheme and a draft was forwarded to the Department in November 2022.
Since then, both the Public Spending Code and the Department’s Transport Appraisal Framework (TAF) guidance have been updated – the Department continues to liaise with the Council regarding new requirements under the new infrastructure Guidelines and the TAF including the preparation of a Project Outline Document (POD) and business case incorporating the work already undertaken at the SAR stage.