The roads budget in Westmeath has been slashed by more than €7m this year, but councillors have been told that the cut has come mainly due to the completion of works at The Downs, and the near completion of works from Carrick Bridge to Clonfad.
Westmeath County Council is to spend €13,322,261 on roads around the county in the coming year, members were informed at area meetings, and the detail was confirmed at their meeting yesterday (Monday). Last year’s allocation amounted to €20,703,8354.
A breakdown of this year’s figures showed that over €9m is to go on regional and local roads, with just over €4m on national roads.
The Department of Transport is supplying €7,595,800 to the county council and €326,700 to Athlone Town Council by way of block grants for regional and local roads.
From Westmeath County Council’s own funds is coming €1,102,500 for local roads and €110,000 for regional roads, while the National Roads Authority (NRA) is granting €4,187,261, for expenditure on national roads.
The NRA last year allocated €7.915m to Westmeath County Council for major improvement works, of which €3.8m was for The Downs Grade Separation, €3.975m for the Carrick Bridge to Clonfad improvement works, and €140,000 for improvement works on the Kilbeggan to Athlone bypass.
This year, just €200,000 is to be spent on the road at The Downs, and €1m on the Carrick Bridge to Clonfad road, while €150,000 is being allocated for works on the Kilbeggan to Athlone bypass.
Also cut in the NRA allocation is the fund for national primary maintenance works, which amounts this year to €294,577 compared to last year’s €467,189.
The major hit there is in terms of motorway maintenance, for which there is an allocation of zero, while last year the figure was €98,309. The winter maintenance grant is down from €182,000 to €75,000.
On national secondary routes, the ordinary maintenance grant is down from €260,673 to €211,044, although the winter maintenance grant is up from last year’s €77,000 to €185,000.
Last year, the NRA allocated €750,000 for the design of the National Cycle Network from Maynooth to Galway; this year’s figure is €350,000.
From the Department of Transport, which has dropped its budget to Westmeath by €367,379 from last year’s figure of €8,289,879, there comes a €200,700 bridge rehabilitation fund, to be spent on 10 bridges – Tullyhill, Old Shannon Bridge Athlone, Horseleap, Ballynacargy, Gartlandstown, Kinturk, Glore River, Monganstown, Ballinea and the Williamstown Finea Culvert.
The surface dressing grant has been cut by €248,000 to €900,000, and the winter maintenance grant is at zero, compared to last year’s €149,783. Gone completely too is the €211,780 community involvement scheme fund, although the discretionary maintenance grant has been increased from €1,252,680 to €1,1552,800.
The breakdown of Westmeath County Council’s own fund contribution shows €1,144,500 going on discretionary maintenance, and €68,000 on verge trimming.
The detailed breakdown of the figures is available on the county council’s website, at www.westmeathcoco.ie/en/media/Roads%20Programme%20of%20Works%202014.pdf.