Belfast Telegraph

Ministers warned ‘people will die’ as road improvement schemes could take years

Labour TD Alan Kelly raised concerns after ministers said planned works on road accident blackspots could take another 25 years.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has been warned lives will be lost after revealing that planned works on road accident blackspots could take another 25 years.

Less than a third of the 150 minor improvement projects first identified in 2013 will be completed or under construction by the end of this year.

Mr Ross said the original plan to have them upgraded by 2020 was over-ambitious and he cautioned that transport chiefs are now expected to do four each year.

“This will never be enough when we’re talking about road deaths,” the minister said.

In 2013, the then government published a road safety strategy aimed at reducing road fatalities.

In the report by the Department of Transport and Road Safety Authority (RSA), targets were set to carry out 150 minor realignment schemes by the end of 2020.

Mr Ross said the seven-year target was too high considering the impact of the recession.

Of the earmarked projects, 42 have been done, six more are under construction and work is expected to begin on another
four this year.

Labour TD Alan Kelly challenged the Government’s record on road safety works and called for more funding for Transport
Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to get at least 100 projects completed by 2020.

“They’re at 42, they haven’t a hope in hell of getting to 150,” Mr Kelly said.

“As a result of that and a lack of funding people will die.”

Mr Kelly added: “If this work is not done, the head of (Transport) Infrastructure Ireland has told me to my face that people will die in 2018, 2019 and 2020.”

The Tipperary TD raised concerns about the on-off ramps on the M7.

A man in his 70s died following a three-vehicle collision on the motorway near the exit for Birdhill earlier in January.

Mr Kelly said: “If there isn’t a serious consideration of the manner in which the on-off ramps in Roscrea and Moneygall work and a look at what is happening in Birdhill, which is also something strange, people will die on the M7.”

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