Three priority road infrastructure projects for Donegal are estimated to cost €432 million and take just under 10 years to complete.
The Minister for Transport is facing questions over funding for the N15/N13 – Ballybofey/Stranorlar Bypass, the N56/N13/N14 Letterkenny to Manorcunningham (Bonagee Link Road) and N14 Manorcunningham to Lifford/Strabane/A5 Link.
These three roads are part of the TEN-T Priority Improvement Projects in Donegal. The projects are in development stage and it is anticipated that the preferred routes will be presented to the public in early 2019. The Department of Transport has set the year 2027 as the estimated completion date.
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle has stressed the critical importance of these projects for Donegal. He told Minister Ross that these road improvements are necessary for access, to improve regional development and improve road safety within the county.
On the three priority projects, Deputy Gallagher said: “Each of these essential pieces of infrastructure have a critical role to play in the future development of our county.
“It is important that we improve our roads network in order to provide proper Motorway access to the Northwest from the east coast, this can be achieved by the construction of the A5/N2 and for us within the county we need to upgrade our roads network to access these road improvements.”
“The Minister in reply to my question indicated that the overall costs of the three projects could mount to over €432 million, he further broke down the provisional costings as follows N15/13 Ballybofey /Stranorlar Bypass €150 million, the Bonagee Link Road ,Letterkenny €96 million and the third project N14 Manorcunningham to Lifford /Strabane/A5 potentially costing €186 million.
“Whilst all three projects form part of the National Development Plan and the National Planning Framework no funding is specially earmarked for these projects yet until such time as they have cleared all planning and appeals processes,” added Pat the Cope.
The Donegal Deputy stressed the necessity of continued investment in the N56 and to put a particular focus on the Ballybofey/Stranorlar Bypass.
Deputy Gallagher said: “I also called on the Minister and the TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) to consult widely before a final route selection is taken for Ballybofey/ Stranorlar (N15/13), as presently concerns are being expressed that the preferred route selection could be located quite a distance from the twin towns and alternative routes should be looked at if possible.
“The Minister in his reply stated the construction period for these projects would be approximately 36 months but until all the necessary planning are in place and final designs are agreed it would be unlikely any of these projects would be completed until 2027,” concluded Pat the Cope.