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Should we still be building new roads?

  • 04-08-2011 10:30am
    Registered Users Posts: 14,015 ✭✭✭✭

    THE TRANSPORT MINISTER Leo Varadkar is this morning turning the sod on a new bypass of Tralee in Co Kerry, which will cost the State around €97m and take just under two years to build.

    The new bypass is aimed at encouraging tourism to the region, with the intention of relieving congestion in Tralee while also allowing for easier access to Killarney and Farranfore airport. It’s one of six road construction projects going ahead this year.

    But the sod-turning also comes on the day that teachers’ unions attack plans to increase the pupil-teacher ratio in the country’s schools – a move they say could see over a thousand teachers laid off.

    Today we’re asking: given the country’s precarious financial state, are programmes like road construction a luxury we should be going without, or a necessary investment in getting the country back on its feet?

    Put simply – should we still be building new roads?

    Link to article here:

    M20 cork to Limerick definitely needs the go ahead


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud

    A clear picture seems to be emerging, regarding road building, in a poll on the site:

    As of Thursday 4th Aug 2001 @ 12:50pm approx...

    ...61% (409) say 'Yes' :)

    ...33% (224) say 'No' :(

    ...5% (35) say 'Don't Know' :confused:

    ...the remaining 1% must be spoiled votes or something.

    Here's the link (data is being continuously updated):


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

    my 2c (sorry 1c after tax)

    N6 GCOB & N17 (Sligo - Galway) needs to go ahead as planned.
    Change M20 plans to go from Limerick to Waterford via Cashel/Cahir and Link with existing M8 (upgrade M8 to 3 lanes if necessary)
    Upgrade exiting N20/ change route to make DC from Limerick - Cork
    Upgrade of exisiting N25 to link to Waterfrod bypass
    We need to upgrade the N4 to DC as a gateway to the northwest
    Improve the N5 (I don't think DC would be required) with good link roads to N4, N6 & N17
    Upgrade/reroute N55 & N62 instead of a dublin/leinster outer orbital route (proposed as the m120 i think)
    Upgrade N roads, particularly in tourist areas of Kerry, Cork, Clare, Gawlay, Mayo, Sligo (e.g. access to Killarney, Clifden, the burren etc)

    Now for the reasoning (be patient):
    Current spending (i.e. civil servants wages) will not get us out of the recession, capital investment will, but it'll take longer. The farce of giving 14 weeks paid holidays for the last two years of a retiring FAS employee to help them "acclimatise to impending retirement" shows just how wasteful and non supportive of the economy our current spending programme is. The question is do we have the stomach to deal with idiotic practices like this and get the money we are spending to the front line services that we need (I don't think so and the failure of the FG/LAB govt to scrap the Croke Park deal shows this).

    We need to put facilities in place that support business. There's a major weakness in the "Knowledge Economy" and new Fas strategy - not everybody is capable of doing that type of work. Also when I heard the new fas plan I laughed - when the multi nationals are complaining that college grads aren't good enough how the hell are they going to trust a renamed fas, which was already badly discredited? Simple answer not for several years and with significant sweeteners. This direction risks alienating people that have skills that don't easily translate into "academic" style work, to counteract this we need to support business that can use their skills (be it for the internal or export markets). This will mean services (incl tourism - Irish and foreign) and manufacturing, which i.m.o. our current transport infrastructure doesn't support very well.

    Most of the country live in sparsely populated areas - so PT will be less effective than a proper road system in transporting large numbers of people. It also makes moving freight faster, therefore more cost efficient. Taking co Galway as an example about half the population live outside urban areas (of 200 or more). Most of the jobs in CO Galway are in and about Galway city, meaning that people have to drive as PT is not suitable (e.g. it's not possible to be in a factory for 8a.m. using WRC & buses or taxis from south Co Galway).

    The larger towns and cities are creaking under the pressure of providing for the exisiting residential & business populations (the proposal to build an artificial lake to supply Dublin with water is ample proof that Dublin is only going to get more expensive for business, Galway has its water and traffic problems, Cork is undergoing an upgrade of the ring road etc), so we need to look at how we can redistribute the working population away from these areas and put the appropriate services in place.

    We need to put in place proper & appropriate transport infrastructure (e.g. the debate around WRC & Metro North), whether it's road, rail, air, sea or some combination of all these to support the business needs of the population. Proper (as opposed to sufficient or convenient, which appears to be the historical approach) broadband, telecoms, water, sewage & other services are also badly needed. Over capacity is not a bad thing for transport, the alternative is the M50, which was built using a just enough mentality (though they did take enough land to convert it from 4 lane to 6 + 2 auxiliary lanes). It was criticised for years due to the style of junction it used - hence the recently completed upgrade (which if the road was built correctly originally would probably not have required as major an investment). Over capacity allows for unexpected growth and gives time to deal with problems (it takes many years to get new roads & rail lines through planning to construction).

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

    No, everybody in Ireland should start living in caves and hunting mammoths.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,809 ✭✭✭CerebralCortex