A €15.9m investment programme for 2019 has been announced for regional and local roads throughout County Roscommon by Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Local politicians say this funding is a 16% increase on 2018, and includes funding for restoration and improvements works on roads across County Roscommon as well as €300,000 for bridge rehabilitation works and €285,000 for safety improvement works.
Independent TD Denis Naughten said: “The main priority in allocating this funding to Roscommon County Council has been to maintain the road surface and improve safety of the road network”.
Among the bridges that will benefit from rehabilitation works are: Ardass, Castlerea; Leamore, Ballymoe; Clooncoran, Ballinasloe; Carrowbehy, Castlerea and Garrynagowna, Athlone.
Meanwhile, the following areas are to benefit from safety improvement works: Cloonfad Junction, Oldtown; bend at Ballymartin, Roscommon; junction at Carrownamorheeny, Elphin; Gortnasillagh, Kilmurray; road beside Elphin cemetery; widen section of road at Hillsend/Cloonburren, Oldtown; Sheegeeragh, Tulsk; Ballyroddy, Elphin; Grranlahan, Ballinlough; bend at Gorteencloogh, Athleague; Garryglass, Scramoge; and the footpath at Station Road, Cortober.
Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan welcomed the news. He said: “Recent extreme weather events have had a major impact on the regional and local road network and this funding will see essential maintenance and improvements carried out”.
Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins said the announcement is a positive boost for Co. Roscommon.
She added: “The increase in allocation of roads funding for the county this year is very positive and marks a 16-17% increase. The N5 project has recently been approved by An Bord Peanála. It is critical that we see this project progressed as quickly as possible in order to improve safety along this busy route”.
Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice welcomed the funding for Roscommon and Galway, but called for funding in both counties to be returned to pre-recession levels.
“Allocations for the western region as a whole need to increase, as there are a number of roads with substandard surfaces which present a safety risk moving forward.
“I will continue to campaign for additional monies to be made available to communities under the Community Involvement Scheme, as well as for non-council roads under the Local Improvement Scheme,” Deputy Fitzmaurice concluded.
…but Connaughton slams ‘unfair’ treatment of South of county
Cllr. Ivan Connaughton has welcomed the news that €15,901,650 will be allocated for roads, bridges and flood relief in Co. Roscommon – but says the Athlone area has been unfairly treated.
He highlighted an allocation of €30,000 for works on the L7127 at Araghty, Athleague, €30,000 for the removal of trees near Cloonfad, €30,000 for the widening of the L7607 near Moore, €40,000 for bridge works at Garrynagowna, Athlone and €30,000 for works at Clooncoran, Ballinasloe.
Cllr. Connaughton said: “While the above allocations are very welcome, the overall division of funding for roads in the Athlone Local Electoral Area falls short of what is required yet again this year. Despite an additional €500,000 being received in late 2018, the condition of some roads in south Roscommon are deplorable and this year’s allocation is €5 million short of what is required to tackle the serious problem that exists.
“Roscommon County Council will receive in the region of €11.5 million for road restoration, surface dressing and road maintenance in 2019. South Roscommon roads will only receive less than 25% of this figure and the remaining 75% will go to the other two municipalities.
“For years, this is contentious between all of the 18 county councillors during the budget process annually. After the local elections, it is up to all councillors elected in the Athlone LEA not to support any alliance taking control of the council for the five-year term unless the allocation of funds is divided evenly between the three municipalities.
“Many south Roscommon roads have deteriorated from flooding (2009 and 2015), snow (2018) and other severe weather events together with reductions in road allocations from 2008 to recent times.
“The slight increase in recent allocations is not sufficient for the upkeep of our roads from Donamon to Shannonbridge. It is totally unfair to those paying their local property tax, commercial rates, vehicle registration tax and road tax in south Roscommon and if re-elected in May, I will only support the equal distribution of funds to municipalities”.