Regional and Local Roads

In 2011, a total of €452.67 million was provided to local authorities to supplement expenditure from their own resources on the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads.

1.         Importance of Regional and Local Roads

The regional and local roads programme is important from economic, social and political perspectives. These roads serve an important economic role in the Irish context and also have valuable social and community functions.  There are almost 91,000kms of regional and local roads in Ireland, which accounts for 94% of the country’s roads network and they carry around 54% of all road traffic.  These roads are often the sole means of access for local economic activity.

These roads play a very important role in Ireland because of:

·         the dispersed nature of the population and industrial development;
·         the importance of tourism and agriculture as generators of wealth and employment; and
·         the increasing attention being given to rural development and urban regeneration.

The network of regional and local roads provides mobility within and between local areas and provides vital links to the strategic national road network and the ports and airports which are our links with the wider European economy.

2.     Local Authority Own Resources Expenditure

Primary responsibility for improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads rests with local authorities.  State grants are intended to supplement realistic contributions by local authorities from their own resources.

3.     State Grants

State road grants for regional and local roads are allocated to local authorities in January or February of each year.  These grants are intended as a supplement to local authority expenditure from their own resources. From 1st January 2010 the National Roads Authority have taken over the administration of the grant payments to local authorities.

The level of grants allocated to individual authorities is determined each year having regard to a number of factors including the total funds available in a particular year, eligibility criteria for the different grant schemes, road pavement conditions, length of road network, the need to prioritise projects and competing demands from other local authorities.  In determining the annual grant allocations, the overall objective is to assist in resourcing each local authority appropriately in relation to their needs.

4.      Grants paid in 2011

In 2011 €209.9 million was paid to local authorities for a programme of road reconstruction and road pavement improvements, which funded work at 2,657 locations throughout the country, resulting in about 2,531 kilometres of road being improved.  In addition €59.78 million was provided for restoration maintenance work that financed an extensive programme of work at 2,277 locations, resulting in about 2,980 kilometres of road being surface dressed.

5.      Grants Allocated in 2012

In 2012 €165 million has been allocated to local authorities for a programme of road reconstruction and road pavement improvements, which will fund work at approximately 2,000 locations throughout the country, resulting in approximately 1,900 kilometres of road being improved.  In addition €60 million has been allocated for restoration maintenance work to finance an extensive programme of work at approximately 2,200 locations, resulting in approximately 2,740 kilometres of road being surface dressed.

Specific Improvement Schemes

The sum of €51 million is being provided in 2012 for 120 projects of various scales.  This includes new roads and bridges and upgrades of existing ones.

The programme involves:

  • strategic road projects which make a substantial contribution to the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy.  This mainly involves investment in and between the Gateways and Hubs designated in the National Spatial Strategy;
  • projects in all areas which support employment and economic activity.  This includes roads that link to other transport infrastructure and which support industry, agriculture, tourism, fishing and forestry.

Other grants

The balance of investment in 2012 will fund work on a variety of other schemes including:

·         safety measures at accident blackspots;

·         a regional road signposting programme;

·         discretionary and block grants; and other miscellaneous schemes including traffic management, footpath repairs, training and local improvements schemes.

Details of all 2012 Grants by Category

 Restoration Improvement €164,999,999
 Restoration Maintenance €60,000,000
 Discretionary Maintenance €55,189,190
Winter Maintenance Grant €7,500,003
Specific Improvement Grants €31,093,100
Strategic Regional & Local Roads €19,969,000
Low Cost Safety Improvement Works €6,035,905
Block Urban €27,212,000
Regional & Local Roads Training Programme €1,604,587
Regional Road Signposting Programme €2,865,700
Bridge Inspections €1,700,000
Miscellaneous special grants Met Station etc. €4,800,000

Further information is available from the Roads Division