Progress on the bypass - designed to link the Waterford to Cork N25 to a proposed new motorway to Dublin - has been delayed while the Environment Minister Dick Roche awaits recommendations from a number of experts about how to proceed with the Viking site discovered on the route of the development at Woodstown.
Chairman of the NRA Michael Egan said it was “standard practice” to put the funding to good use if delays were ongoing but said it did not represent a diversion in commitment to the project.
“There’s no threat to that funding, it’s one of our priority schemes under the National Development Plan, we’re absolutely adamant about that,” Mr Egan said.
Mr Egan said it was “no secret” that the construction of the bypass would not commence until later next year at the earliest due to ongoing deliberations by the Department of the Environment regarding the Viking site.
“We had hoped to commence construction later this year. That will not happen now simply because of the realisation of the special significance of the Viking site at Woodstown, so we have to adjust the funding allocation against what’s happened on the ground,” he said.
A total of €28m of the State’s €200m investment in the project was earmarked to be spent before the end of the year. Of this, €13m was ring-fenced for land compensation agreements and €15m towards construction costs.
However, it has been revealed that Waterford City Council has had substantial success in agreeing compensation with land owners, settling a total of €20m in compensation to date.
The €8m remaining from this year’s spending allocation will now go to road schemes such as resurfacing works elsewhere.
“It’s no secret the scheme will not start construction this year. We revise our allocations to reflect actual developments on the ground,” Mr Egan said.
Mr Roche is due to receive the NRA report on the implications of the archaeological find before the end of October.