Construction industry slam 'depressing' delivery of Munster's major roads projects

Construction industry slam 'depressing' delivery of Munster's major roads projects
File photo of the Dunkettle Interchange

Construction industry experts have slammed the poor delivery of major public infrastructure in the southern region.

An update on major roads projects was slammed as "depressing" by senior officials in the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). They urged the government to do more to ensure that regionally important projects are delivered to ensure that the South of the country can meet the lofty targets set for it under Ireland 2040.

Paul Moran, regional manager of the South-West roads capital programme at Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), said they face "serious challenges" in meeting many of their deadlines.

In addition to confirming that it would take "ten to twelve months" before a new contract for the major upgrade of the Dunkettle Interchange would be awarded, Mr Moran gave updates on several other important projects to attendees at Southern Construct 2019.

Completing the M20 Cork-Limerick motorway by its 2027 deadline, as set out in the National Development Plan, will be "a serious challenge", Mr Moran said.

Currently, the estimated cost is €850 million to €900 million but Mr Moran said it is "highly unlikely" that these costs will remain stagnant in the coming years.

He said objectors and lobby groups have already emerged, which could potentially slow down the project further.

A High Court decision on the current status of the M28 motorway project is anticipated in October.

Mr Moran said if this is delayed, it could "add years to the project" timeframe.

"But, let's be positive and say that we can win it," he said. "Then we can start a project of three years of advance works."

In his presentation, he noted that the "earliest" that main works would take place would be late 2023 or early 2024 due to the complexities associated with water mains, work on the Rochestown Road and any potential further objections.

Mr Moran said that tenders are being assessed in relation to the N27 Ballyvourney-Macroom road and that a business case has been presented to the Department.

"We need government to make a decision," he added.

Mr Moran said that the N21/N69 Foynes motorway project, which includes the Adare bypass, is ready to go.

In July, it was reported that all environmental impact statements and compulsory purchase order submissions will be with An Bord Pleanála by October, ensuring that the €300 million Adare bypass is completed ahead of the Ryder Cup in 2026.

Mr Moran said he hopes they can meet this timeframe but said that it will be a challenge due to any potential oral hearings and other potential statutory delays.

Conor O'Connell, CIF Regional Director, was critical of the delays:

If we continue to neglect southern infrastructure, people will continue to have no choice but to go to Dublin. We have a chance to make Cork a thriving hub an of economic corridor including Limerick, Galway and Sligo to counterbalance Dublin.

"A huge proportion of just the road investment is either delayed or stalled. It is a monumental failure that the region with the most economic promise outside Dublin is continuously neglected."

A CIF survey conducted for the conference found 75% of CIF members are not confident that infrastructural projects will materialise in their regions.

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