A Mayo councillor has criticised the ‘imbalance’ in the 2020 Roads Grant allocations for the county.
The county’s allocation for this year has jumped by a massive 76 per cent to €87.4m, a meeting of Mayo Co Council’s Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) heard.
The €240m Westport to Turlough road is a major factor in the increase with Mayo’s allocation rising by €37.8m compared to last year.
While welcoming the funding boost, Independent Cllr Seamus Weir reacted angrily to just €50,000 being included for an orbital route project that will seek to ease traffic congestion in Ballina.
Cllr Weir said a council delegation was led to believe at a meeting with the Transport Infrastructure Irleand (TII) that €2m was to be put in place for the project. Instead, a sum of just €50,000 has been put in place for Phase One of the N26 Ballina bypass.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Cllr Weir who described the latest allocation as ‘one-sided’ geographically.
Executive engineer Paul Hyland told Cllr Weir that the Ballina project is likely to take “three to five years” and the €50,000 allocation is just the first step in a lengthy process. “There would be no point in having €2m today, you could not spend it,” he added.
Director of Services Tom Gilligan described the initial €50,000 allocation as a “positive first step”. He pointed to the significant rise in the county’s roads allocation. “Overall this is a very good news story,” he said.
The largest allocation is the €40m for the new Westport to Turlough road with €2.5m also in place for Cloongullane Bridge on the N26 near Swinford.
Meanwhile, councillors have called for safety barriers to be put in place at the location where a mother and daughter tragically lost their lives in a road accident in 2011. Sandra Herbert (39) of Barnfield, Knockmore and her 13-year-old daughter Rachel both drowned when black ice caused their car to leave the Knockmore to Corroy road and overturn into a river.
Cllr Weir and Fine Gael Cllr Neil Cruise urged for safety measures to be put in place to prevent future accidents.
“There is a necessity to have a barrier at that location,” said Cllr Cruise.