€9M for 33 roads in Bailieboro-Cootehill area

'Major challenges' to be faced maintaining roads says Cathaoirleach

Members of the Bailieborough Cootehill Municipal District committed to a roads programme, which will see €9M spent on upgrading 33 roads in the electoral area.

Municipal District area manager, Alan Lyons, told members the programme is a response to a Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage memo calling on all local authorities to prepare and submit a three-year roads programme.

Mr Lyons explained how figures presented to members for consideration were based on the 2021 allocations. The budget for roads spending is projected to be €3M per year over the next three years.

He said engineers surveyed the network and, after representations from the elected members and submissions from the public, prepared the programme presented to the councillors for consideration.

Mr Lyons warned councillors that the figures presented were estimates saying: “There is a risk in that the increase in material costs may affect what is scheduled in the programmes.”

Cathaoirleach Paddy McDonald (SF) said there are “some major challenges” to be faced by the local authority in maintaining roads over the period. He said some roads in need of repair were not included in the programme.

Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) welcome the funding, but lamented that it “falls short of what is needed”. This was a sentiment echoed by his colleagues, Cllr Sarah O’Reilly (Aon), who pointed out there were over 1,100km of road in the MD, but the programme only covered 20km per year. She said, at that rate of progress, it would take 55 years do all the roads in the MD.

There are a number of high-value road projects to be undertaken in the plan. In 2022 the local authority has committed €468,136 to the improve 1.45km of the R162 Shercock to Kingscourt Road; €447,810 for 2km of works on the R178 Shercock Bailieborough; and €416,487 on a 5km stretch of the Greaghadossan Rd. There are eight other projects earmarked in the €3M programme.

The largest undertaking in the 2023 programme is a 2.8km stretch of the Bailieborough-Cootehill road with a value of €610,414, €407,157 for a 1.8km section of the Cootehill-Shercock road; €326,860 for improvement of 2km of Grousehall-Carricknamaddoo. The council envision spending €3M on the 11 roads in the plan.

The largest spend in 2024 is €580,088 on 2.6km of the Cavan-Bailieboro road, followed by €403,029 on 1.8km of the Cootehill-Shercock road and €300,974 on 1.75km of Teevurcher Rd.

Cllr Val Smith said the local authority will have to work with what they are given. He spoke of the pressure coming on the council to ensure they get all the work done by the end of the year, but concluded by saying he hoped more money would be make available to include other roads in the programmes.

Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick commented that some of the roads in the MD were in “a terrible condition”. “We need more money for our roads,” he stated.”

Cllr Carmel Brady recognised the work undertaken by the engineers in determining what roads to prioritise. She said roads were a major issue for people of rural Ireland and spoke of backlogs of up to 15 years for road repairs: “This is not good enough.”

Mr Lyons acknowledged the issue of scarce resources, but said the breadth of the programme was constrained by the monies allocated. The members adopted the programme, but agreed to lobby for more funding.