Truck overturned on the N80 in 2021
A treacherous and very busy stretch of the N80 between Portlaoise and Mountmellick is in line for a €2.3 million investment under the 2022 spending on Laois roads just given the green light by Minister Eamon Ryan.
Extensive work has been carried out in recent years on the national road up to the Laois landfill at Kyletalesha but the stretch to Mountmellick has not been overhauled.
However, this is about to change with confirmation that phase one has received funding in the Transport Infrastructure Ireland 2022 Grant Allocations to Local Authorities for National Roads and Greenways.
The inclusion of the road in the Government's upgrade plans marks a sudden shift which was perhaps prompted by when the danger on the road was called out by Laois County Council's Chief Executive John Mulholland in September 2021.
He he told the Laois Joint Policing Committee meeting that road, which traverses a bog, that the driver who crashed on the road was lucky to survive.
"For a national secondary route, it’s very deficient in every respect," the Laois County Council CEO said.
He told the meeting at the time that it was not "anywhere in the programme for the national development plan".
Simon Walton is Laois County Council's Director of Services with responsibility for Roads, Transportation, Environment, Water Services, Emergency Services. He elaborated on what work would be carried out in phase 1.
"The funds are provided for a rehabilitation of the existing road structure as opposed to any proposals for realignment, widening etc," he said.
He added further work would be carried out Phase 2 of the Portlaoise to Kyletelesha project.
In total, Laois County Council has been allocated €5,409,157 for improvement and maintenance works on Laois national, primary and secondary roads in 2022.
The breakdown is as follows:
€4,935,000 : For improvement works to National Roads
€474,157 : For Maintenance works to National and Secondary Roads
Some of the larger funded approved improvement works include:
N80 Kyletalesha to Mountmellick Phase 1 €2,300,000
N78 Ballylehane Lower to Farnans €1,000,000
N77 Portlaoise to M7 Pavement €900,000
N77 Course to Dunmore €300,000
N77 Portlaoise €200,000
Deer Pilot study €50,000
Maintenance Works include:
Winter Maintenance : €149,500
Ordinary Maintenance: €128,967 and
Route Lighting : €156,490
Laois Offaly Minister of State Seán Fleming welcomed the funding.
"I am very pleased to see this funding allocated to invest into the Laois Road Network to ensure the roads are in a safe condition for all road users. These works will be completed by Laois County Council in 2022," he said.
“This is an important allocation Laois. This funding will cover routine maintenance and improvements to safeguard our infrastructure," said the Fianna Fáil TD.
Laois Offaly Fine Gael TD was also pleased.
“Over the past two years I have been making strong representations regarding the crucial works on N 80 and I am delighted that funding has been allocated to the N80 Kyletalesha to Mountmellick (Phase 1)”
“I wish to pay tribute to the engineers and staff of Laois County Council for the hard work they have undertaken with Covid over the past 12 months," he said.
Minister Ryan commented: “Today’s allocations are an important step in a pathway of planned investment in our national road network over the coming decade. A priority for the Government is to advance safe, clean, liveable towns and communities. This investment will help to take heavy traffic out of our main streets, giving towns back to residents and shoppers. It will also provide scope for greater Active Travel options (walking and cycling) in town centres. Reduced traffic volumes will allow for “compact growth” in town centres, providing possibilities for residential development. For that reason, we will see a renewed focus on supporting local by-passes.”
Under the NDP, Government has also earmarked €5.1 billion for spending on new national roads projects until 2030.
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