€12.6 million announced to fix and improve Laois roads
Over €12.6m has been announced today to make safer rural roads, bridges and crossroads all around Laois, as well as town centre roads in Portlaoise and Portarlington.
The Government grant of €12,639,322 to Laois County Council announced on Monday, February 15 is to be spent on local and regional roadworks in 2021. It is up from last year's grant by €290,000.
It is part of a €555m investment for Irish roads announced by Minister Eamon Ryan TD for works on over 4,500kms of Irish roads.
There will be €220k spent on safety works on eight local and regional roads, including the crossroads at Treacys in The Heath, and the junction to Foxcroft Street in Portarlington.
Two junctions got a €200,000 Specific Improvement grant each, Redcastle Junction, and Derrin Cross.
Five bridges including the Poorman's Bridge and Bridge Street bridge in Portlaoise will share €323k of Government funding.
There is also over €800,000 allocated to 'active travel' and climate adaptation, to make roads safer for cyclists and walkers.
Laois County Council also has received €452,000 for Community Improvement Schemes, whereby grants are given to locals to fix private roads and lanes.
Full list of grants below story
The council's Director of Services for Roads is Simon Walton.
"What it means for County Laois is a roads programme similar to the one undertaken in 2020 which was generally accepted as having a very positive impact on the overall quality and safety of the road network in County Laois.
"In the coming weeks each Municipal District Committee will agree the priorities for County Laois under the various expenditure headings including road surface enhancement, skid resistance enhancements, drainage, road safety measures etc. Once that is complete the Roadworks Scheme 2021 will be put before Council for approval at the March Monthly Meeting. Assuming approval works will commence shortly thereafter," Mr Walton told the Leinster Express.
The money is welcomed by Laois TDs, Charlie Flanagan, Sean Fleming, Minister of State and Senator Pippa Hackett.
“This funding will cover routine maintenance to safeguard our infrastructure, ensure that our roads are resilient against the deteriorating effects of climate change and also contains provisions for walking and cycling infrastructure and safety schemes," Dep Flanagan said.
“Maintaining our regional and local road network in Laois is not only important for connectivity, but crucial to ensuring safety on our roads, reducing road collisions and protecting lives.
“Funding for the roll out of a signage programme relating to lower speed limits in housing areas as well as ‘safe passing’ signs for cyclists will also be provided for as part of today’s allocations.
“Routine maintenance works are fundamental to safeguarding our road infrastructure and keeping the network in a good condition. All strategic road improvement investment schemes will include provisions for walking and cycling infrastructure to take account of the needs of all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians.” Dep Flanagan said.
Dep Fleming also welcomed the funding.
“This is a very substantial allocation and it will allow major improvement and restoration works to be carried out on a large number of roads throughout the county.
“In addition to these grants there are two specific improvement grants to carry out much needed safety improvement works on the R445 (formerly N7) which is the road from Portlaoise to Borris in Ossory.
“€200,000 has been allocated for improvement works at Redcastle Cross which is the junction before Mountrath coming from Portlaoise. A separate allocation of €200,000 for improvement works has been allocated for Derrin Cross which is the junction, coming from Castletown before Borris in Ossory. Now that these two grants have been approved, the detailed design work can now proceed. In addition there is €250,000 for resurfacing the R445 at Clonboyne, Portlaoise.
“Safety improvement works will be carried out at The Heath, Ballinakill, Durrow, Cashel, Foxcroft Street Portarlington, Clonaslee, Raheen and Castletown/Ballickmoyler. There is also €452,000 for Community Improvement Schemes.
“This is good news for the County and I look forward to Laois County Council finalising its’ roadworks programme shortly and carrying out all these works in 2021. These improvement works will make roads in Laois safer for all road users.," Dep Fleming said.
Senator Hackett agrees.
“This allocation of €12,639,322 for Laois County Council is essential for the maintenance of our road network. Both motorists and bus passengers depend on good roads for connectivity and a safe, comfortable journey. I’m delighted to see this investment in our roads in Laois,” she said.