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In the current climate should we be building roads?

  • 04-03-2011 2:48pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    I'm starting this in response to the mess that has become the M17/18 and The NRA must be stopped threads, both of which for various reasons became fractious. The M17/18 thread in particular has been hijacked by the economic arguments (see from post 663 on).

    After a pm to tech3 (thank you) I started this in order to:
    a) start a reasoned debate on the economics of building roads
    b) keep the individual threads from getting bogged down in arguments with at best a tenuous link to the project.

    So please put your economic arguments and quips (like blacktopper's) and try to keep the project threads for constructive discussion.
    Tagged:


Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭Sponge Bob


    Yes. Some roads are so congested and so dangerous that an economic case can be made for building new ones even at a stiff interest rate.

    We should not stop building roads in principle but maybe we should publish and update the economic case for each one , like an Economic Impact Statement, and build STRICTLY ONLY in order of best economic case first.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,503 ✭✭✭veryangryman


    What alot of people seem to not realise is that the country has been held back in the 80s and 90s by the poor infrastructure. The country was a laughing stock for multinational companies, certaily outside the cities.

    Now that the Motorways are (to a large extent) built, it is viable for these companies to set up here. Its a trade off with our current large cost of living, but at least the IDA have something to show off when parading the place to potentially lucrative offers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,284 ✭✭✭dubhthach


    What alot of people seem to not realise is that the country has been held back in the 80s and 90s by the poor infrastructure. The country was a laughing stock for multinational companies, certaily outside the cities.

    Now that the Motorways are (to a large extent) built, it is viable for these companies to set up here. Its a trade off with our current large cost of living, but at least the IDA have something to show off when parading the place to potentially lucrative offers.

    A very good point. I was reading a copy of "New Scientist" from 1980 on Google Books a couple months ago. They had an article about Irish economy one of major concerns were the state of the roads and it's impact on industrial development. They also reckoned that the corporate tax couldn't last at such a low rate ;)

    Tbh even if we don't build any roads over next 5-6years doesn't mean that we shouldn't be planning for building roads in the future. The problem too often in the past is we didn't bother doing anything as a result we were overwhelemed when times got good.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,733 ✭✭✭✭corktina


    YES x 1000 and they should stop Cork County Council wasting money by re-building shoddy ones. (see N72 Lombardstown Crioss to Waterloo Stud.) QUALITY roads is what is wanted.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,884 Mod ✭✭✭✭spacetweek


    Antoobrien, keep in mind that each project has to pass a Cost-Benefit Analysis. Roads are not built for no reason. Each one gives back a quantifiable return, so if this is significant, there is no reason not to proceed.

    I'm also a keen public transport advocate, by the way, and support a 50:50 (or thereabouts) funding split.

    I get frustrated when certain quarters (like overly-enthusiastic Greenies) complain about an orgy of roadbuilding for an obsolete mode. So long as road projects are going to provide us with an economic return, and don't negatively affect communities and the landscape too much, then they should go ahead.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,303 ✭✭✭dowlingm


    We can't afford to build as we did before but can't afford to build none either. If all roads were cancelled we would lose engineering talent to emigration. We need to build enough to maintain local skilled and semi-skilled employment and the better subcontractors and plant suppliers while squeezing out the GAMA types who bring in non-EU workers. This applies to rail too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭marmurr1916


    Some snippets from the Programme for Government agreed between FG and Labour:

    "We will establish a Strategic Investment Bank."

    "Accelerate capital works that are 'shovel ready' and labour intensive including schools and secondary roads."

    "We will draw up a new National Development Plan...In the initial years...we will prioritise investment in school building, non-national roads, healthcare and in job-creation."

    "Re-prioritise capital funding for smaller projects..."


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,468 ✭✭✭BluntGuy


    It would seem the focus is going to be shifted onto smaller projects. Perhaps more local re-alignments and such. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (we all know how utterly abysmal our regional road network is), but is it going to be at the expense of relatively mid-sized national road projects?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    I think it's folly to switch the focus from national to non-national roads (erroneously called 'secondary' roads in the PfG). Most accidents occur on national routes and most traffic uses national routes. In any case, non-national roads are in many cases so utterly ruined by private accesses that the potential to realign substantial sections is very weak.

    That said, the cost-benefit analysis measurement for determining infrastructural investment should see routes like the N28 and N24 re-prioritised. I'd really welcome this and will pester Simon Coveney day and night about the N28, N22 and N24 in particular.

    Also, there's an interesting proposal to create a website called www.fixmystreet.ie where citizens can report damage to the road network and be guaranteed of a response within two working days.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭marmurr1916


    Tremelo wrote: »
    I think it's folly to switch the focus from national to non-national roads (erroneously called 'secondary' roads in the PfG). Most accidents occur on national routes and most traffic uses national routes. In any case, non-national roads are in many cases so utterly ruined by private accesses that the potential to realign substantial sections is very weak.

    I reckon that they're going to concentrate on smaller re-alignments of the most dangerous sections, improving sight-lines, junction improvements, and improvements to road surfaces, marking and signposting.

    These improvements to the regional and local road networks are very necessary but shouldn't be at the expense of vital improvements to national routes.

    It seems clear that each small-scale project will be very small, possibly below the threshold at which EU public procurement rules kick in.
    The European Union has updated and simplified the legislation on public procurement procedures *. Applicable in a Union of 27 Member States, this revision merges the four existing European directives into two legal instruments:

    The so-called "traditional" Directive 2004/18/EC for works, supply and service contracts in the public sector; Directive 2004/17/EC on contracts with entities operating in the "special sectors" of water, energy, transport and postal services.
    SCOPE

    Revised thresholds

    The "traditional" directive applies to public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts which have a value excluding VAT estimated to be no less than the pre-established thresholds.
    The thresholds are recalculated by the Commission every two years. The calculation of the value of these thresholds shall be based on the average daily value of the euro, expressed in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). This average is calculated over the 24 months terminating on 31 August for the revision with effect from 1 January.

    For the period from 1 January 2010 until 31 December 2011 the value of the thresholds is the following:

    EUR 125 000 for public supply and service contracts awarded by central government authorities (ministries, national public establishments);
    EUR 193 000 for public supply and service contracts: awarded by contracting authorities * which are not central government authorities; covering certain products in the field of defence awarded by the central government authorities; concerning certain services in the fields of research and development (RTD), telecommunications, hotels and catering, transport by rail and waterway, provision of personnel, vocational training, investigation and security, certain legal, social and sanitary, recreational, cultural and sporting services;
    EUR 4 845 000 in the case of works contracts.

    http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/internal_market/businesses/public_procurement/l22009_en.htm

    Expect a lot of works contracts worth €4.8million to be awarded!
    Tremelo wrote: »
    That said, the cost-benefit analysis measurement for determining infrastructural investment should see routes like the N28 and N24 re-prioritised. I'd really welcome this and will pester Simon Coveney day and night about the N28, N22 and N24 in particular.

    The PFG proposes that the Cost-Benefit Analysis be published before any project proceeds, which is a great idea.

    The ECJ ruling on the inadequacies of Ireland's transposition of the Environmental Impact Statement Directive (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0305/1224291373730.html) will hopefully lead to positive changes and ensure that the EIS process is more transparent.
    Tremelo wrote: »
    Also, there's an interesting proposal to create a website called www.fixmystreet.ie where citizens can report damage to the road network and be guaranteed of a response within two working days.

    Guaranteed a response. Not guaranteed a solution. Still, let's give it a chance to work.

    No doubt members of this forum will be active users! :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,010 ✭✭✭Tech3


    FG and Labours policy to start backwards on road building is not a good idea. Traffic needs must be met. We cannot be upgrading roads for under a thousand road users when we have another road with no upgrades that carries excess 10 thousand. Its basically an excuse to save money on national primary road schemes. We will be waiting another 30 years for the likes of the N24, N21, N17, N15 and N5 to be of a good standard


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Unless of course the strategic investment bank is to be used to fund key infrastructural projects. Although NewERA is not a transport-related policy, you'd have to imagine that the new national development plan will commit to upgrading certain routes. At least that's what I'm hoping. I will endeavor to find out over the next few weeks.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,884 Mod ✭✭✭✭spacetweek


    Tremelo wrote: »
    Unless of course the strategic investment bank is to be used to fund key infrastructural projects. Although NewERA is not a transport-related policy, you'd have to imagine that the new national development plan will commit to upgrading certain routes. At least that's what I'm hoping. I will endeavor to find out over the next few weeks.
    What's NewERA Tremelo, is the gov re-announcing the roads program for the 10th time?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    spacetweek wrote: »
    What's NewERA Tremelo, is the gov re-announcing the roads program for the 10th time?

    NewERA, under the supervision of Junior Minister Fergus O'Dowd.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,400 ✭✭✭Penfailed


    There's a very large contract on the cards for Northern Ireland, partly funded by the Republic from the end of the N2 at Auchnacloy, through Omagh and Strabane, up to Derry and beyond to Letterkenny. It's long overdue. I very much hope that the funding is secured as the North West has been neglected for long enough. The Ballybofey/Stranorlar bypass has been shelved for the time being...

    Gigs '21 - Stendhal Festival (July), Stendhal Festival (August), [s]Liam Gallagher & Idles[/s], King Kong Company, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Undertones, And So I Watch You From Afar

    Gigs '22 - And So I Watch You From Afar, Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Stendhal Festival, The Fratellis, Clutch, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Electric Picnic, Vantastival, The Cure, And So I Watch You From Afar

    Gigs '23 - Stiff Little Fingers, The Wood Burning Savages, Bob Log III, David Kitt, Ludovico Einaudi, DADDY LONG LEGS, The Prodigy, Stendhal Festival, Forest Fest, Electric Picnic, The Murder Capital, PJ Harvey, The Bonnevilles (w/Amy Montgomery, Rews, New Pagans), The Undertones (w/Buzzcocks), And So I Watch You From Afar

    Gigs '24 - Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball (Gomez), The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smashing Pumpkins/Weezer, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Stendhal Festival, Forest Fest, Electric Picnic, Ride, PJ Harvey, Pixies, Therapy?, IDLES(x2)



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 4,884 Mod ✭✭✭✭spacetweek


    Penfailed wrote: »
    There's a very large contract on the cards for Northern Ireland, partly funded by the Republic from the end of the N2 at Auchnacloy, through Omagh and Strabane, up to Derry and beyond to Letterkenny. It's long overdue. I very much hope that the funding is secured as the North West has been neglected for long enough. The Ballybofey/Stranorlar bypass has been shelved for the time being...
    Do you really think the whole A5 will go ahead? I don't. According to Wesley Johnston's Northern Ireland Roads site, the A5 and A8 to Larne projects are so expensive that basically everything else is delayed now until they're finished.

    What they should be doing is phasing it - Derry to Strabane (by 2015), Strabane to Enniskillen (by 2018), Enniskillen to border (by 2021).

    Remember we're paying for this too so it benefits us aswell!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,400 ✭✭✭Penfailed


    spacetweek wrote: »
    Do you really think the whole A5 will go ahead?

    Eventually, yes...I hope so anyway!
    spacetweek wrote: »
    What they should be doing is phasing it - Derry to Strabane (by 2015), Strabane to Enniskillen (by 2018), Enniskillen to border (by 2021).

    Remember we're paying for this too so it benefits us aswell!

    That's not the route it's taking though. It's already been planned in three phases - Derry to Strabane, Strabane to Omagh, Omagh to Aughnacloy :)

    Gigs '21 - Stendhal Festival (July), Stendhal Festival (August), [s]Liam Gallagher & Idles[/s], King Kong Company, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Undertones, And So I Watch You From Afar

    Gigs '22 - And So I Watch You From Afar, Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai, Stendhal Festival, The Fratellis, Clutch, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Electric Picnic, Vantastival, The Cure, And So I Watch You From Afar

    Gigs '23 - Stiff Little Fingers, The Wood Burning Savages, Bob Log III, David Kitt, Ludovico Einaudi, DADDY LONG LEGS, The Prodigy, Stendhal Festival, Forest Fest, Electric Picnic, The Murder Capital, PJ Harvey, The Bonnevilles (w/Amy Montgomery, Rews, New Pagans), The Undertones (w/Buzzcocks), And So I Watch You From Afar

    Gigs '24 - Ben Ottewell and Ian Ball (Gomez), The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Smashing Pumpkins/Weezer, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Stendhal Festival, Forest Fest, Electric Picnic, Ride, PJ Harvey, Pixies, Therapy?, IDLES(x2)



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    spacetweek wrote: »
    Antoobrien, keep in mind that each project has to pass a Cost-Benefit Analysis. Roads are not built for no reason. Each one gives back a quantifiable return, so if this is significant, there is no reason not to proceed.

    I'm also a keen public transport advocate, by the way, and support a 50:50 (or thereabouts) funding split.

    I get frustrated when certain quarters (like overly-enthusiastic Greenies) complain about an orgy of roadbuilding for an obsolete mode. So long as road projects are going to provide us with an economic return, and don't negatively affect communities and the landscape too much, then they should go ahead.

    spacetweek I'm aware of all this and I agree with you on almost everything youve said (I'll elaborate in a later post in case it looks like I'm being critical of you).

    The reason i started the thread was that there seem to be a small few people interested in derailing (at least some) threads by mud slinging and effectively calling anyone who has the contrary opinion either backward or deluded. This has the potential to make the project threads in particular useless as discussions of what might be necessary for a particular route (this was in danger of happening on the M17/18 thread).

    There's a lot of (to my mind) rubbish being said by opponents of roads. James Nix has come out claiming (link: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=71086861&postcount=265) that new roads are bad for the environment and should be stopped because:
    recent cuts in local road maintenance works were due to excessive motorway construction
    The AADT is 15k vehicles (http://nraextra.nra.ie/CurrentTrafficCounterData/html/N21-20.htm). According to the road standards thread the capacity of a single carriageway thread is 11,600 vehicles, meaning that this road is over capacity by about half - at a time when traffic levels are believed (http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=70584542&postcount=304) to be falling. If this guy had any sense he'd realise that not getting a suitable road here is the real environmental risk because the vehicles are sitting still!

    I'm interested in seeing any actual economic and environmental arguments - so long as they are backed up with figures or reasonable arguments because the quote in that article does not (to my mind) constitute a reasoned argument.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    Not that we didn't know this anyways.
    The head of communications with the National Roads Authority Sean O'Neill has said Ireland is having trouble in finding private investors for road projects because of the country's debt problems.

    The 'Public-Private' Partnership model is based on private investors paying for projects up-front, with the Government paying them back over time.

    But Mr O'Neill has said investors are becoming scarce on the ground over fears about Ireland's ability to repay debts.

    He said until that confidence returns, many road projects may have to be "put on the long finger".


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  • Registered Users Posts: 141 ✭✭NFD100


    No, with the exception of M7 Newlands Cross and M11 Rathnew-Arklow and possibly N5 there should be a halt to all new builds for five years. We should be improving the roads we already have.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    NFD100 wrote: »
    No, with the exception of M7 Newlands Cross and M11 Rathnew-Arklow and possibly N5 there should be a halt to all new builds for five years. We should be improving the roads we already have.

    The N5 because it's Enda's?

    M17/18 & M20 are far more important than that. M17/18 and improvements to the N4 can cater for the N5 as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,503 ✭✭✭veryangryman


    antoobrien wrote: »
    The N5 because it's Enda's?

    M17/18 & M20 are far more important than that. M17/18 and improvements to the N4 can cater for the N5 as well.

    In a country where all roads lead to Dublin, i can see a relatively strong case for the N5. Ballaghadreen bypass at a minimum


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,786 ✭✭✭munchkin_utd


    In a country where all roads lead to Dublin, i can see a relatively strong case for the N5. Ballaghadreen bypass at a minimum
    can you explain this strong case please?

    the N5 national PRIMARY road at frenchpark near Ballaghadreen has an average usage of 4571 vehicles per day. http://nraextra.nra.ie/CurrentTrafficCounterData/html/N05-11.htm
    That low a usage would be more reason to detrunk the road, than upgrade it at the cost of 100s of millions of euros.
    When the N17 from north of Tuam (something like 15km from the mayo border) provides motorway access the entire way to Dublin from south Mayo, the N5 will defacto loose its importance.
    (interesting, Balla on the road from Castlebar to Tuam, has already a higher patronage than the "main" road to Dublin at 5523 vehicles per day average - EDIT-noting that this will become the link road to the motorway to Dublin in a few years time thus robbing traffic from the already empty N5)

    What really should be happening as a minimum is that town centres get by-passed (akin to the claregalway or N5 Longford town link road).
    Even if in the longer term should major offline projects remove long distance traffic from these towns, relief roads will prove valuable to the economic prosperity of a town


  • Registered Users Posts: 607 ✭✭✭Neworder79


    Looking like all plans (even the current projects) are now under review as Minister Varadkar has started a review of spending on roads and rail. The article notes:
    "a change in priorities” and that the thinking was moving towards maintenance of existing roads and railways.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0405/1224293869961.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    Neworder79 wrote: »
    Looking like all plans (even the current projects) are now under review as Minister Varadkar has started a review of spending on roads and rail. The article notes:
    "a change in priorities” and that the thinking was moving towards maintenance of existing roads and railways.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0405/1224293869961.html

    That's all well and good and a lot of the roads are in poor enough state (N83 into Dunmore was terrible the last time I went that way), but resurfacing works is not going to make, Claregalway, Tuam, Ardrahan (from the M17/18 project), Buttevant, Mallow etc (on the M20) any safer. Or for that matter help with economic sustainability and competitiveness of the whole atlantic seaboard.

    Kill metro north for all I care - the only reason it has support is that it's going through disadvantaged areas (like the luas red line) and there are a lot of loudmouthed TDs in the area. It's worth noting that metro west was quietly deprioritized and nobody noticed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,634 ✭✭✭Mayo Exile


    Reading that Irish Times piece, does this mean the N5 Longford bypass could be halted? Work is meant to start next week on it I believe.


  • Registered Users Posts: 369 ✭✭weehamster


    antoobrien wrote: »
    Kill metro north for all I care - the only reason it has support is that it's going through disadvantaged areas (like the luas red line) and there are a lot of loudmouthed TDs in the area.

    Ok, I can think of one 'disadvantaged' area and that would be Ballymun but I can't think of any other 'disadvantaged' area that the proposed Metro North route went through. Can you please enlighten us to these other areas that you refer to. :cool:


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