I am pleased to welcome, following my submission to the capital expenditure plan, news of five tenders submitted for work on the Sallins bypass, M7 Widening, and Osberstown Interchange. This is an important step in the process and I understand Kildare County Council are expecting to award contracts this coming September. I will continue to work with the council to progress this much needed project.
This funding is very welcome news for Sallins village, Clane, Prosperous, and the wider areas which have had bottle neck traffic building up at morning and evening times. The bypass is exactly what these areas need and I am delighted to see the council receive funding for this project. Only as recently as this week have I contact Minister Ross to lobby for funding. It has been one of my main projects since being elected and am delighted to see this pressure pay off and funding secured for this part of the overall project.
I have been campaigning for this development, and the wider M7 Widening project, for nearly ten years now. Since being elected to the Dáil I have repeatedly raised funding matters regarding both projects in the chamber.
From figures previously obtained it is my understanding €110 million is needed to complete the entire project of the M7 Widening and the Sallins Bypass. As they both went out in the same tender I intend to keep further pressure on the Minister to fight for the remainder of the €100 million needed to see this project completed.
The announcement of capital funding for the long awaited Sallins by-pass and M7 upgrade projects is welcome. Having campaigned strenuously for years on this issue, these road projects will bring a dramatic improvement to the lives of people living in Sallins and travelling through as well as the thousands who use the M7 everyday. A by-pass for Sallins was first talked about in the late 1990s. After many stop-start attempts at the much needed project, I welcome the announcement today of funding for this. However, as we’ve seen many times before, we won’t be sure until the actual roadworks under way. The Government had already stalled this project at the start of the year.
I have obtained a breakdown on the cost of the three delayed roads projects at the recent Naas Municipal District meeting. As I’ve stated on countless occasions over the years, the Sallins bypass is vital for Sallins and taking the gridlock out of the village. The M7 widening is equally important to prevent the rat run that was worsening in Kill and Johnstown since Newlands Cross opened and that the Osberstown Interchange at Kerry Foods was vital to hook it all together.
I have been consistently keeping the pressure on for these projects to progress and Minister Donohue stated on Wednesday morning that he acknowledged the importance of these projects for the area and indeed region. I have now obtained figures showing that the estimated cost of Osberstown Interchange is approximately €16 million and of Sallins By Pass is approximately €39 million. The highest project in terms of cost is the M7 widening with a price tag of €55 million. The government need to keep their promise to deliver on these projects. These projects are not just important for the locality, but they have greater importance for the wider Leinster region and the busy Dublin-Cork motorway route.
In a major setback for the critical M7-Sallins bypass road projects, it was announced last week that KCC is now being asked to fund a major part of these road projects from its ‘own resources’. The Minister for Transport says two out of the three M7 road up-grade projects should be funded from Kildare County Council’s “own resources”. The total cost of these linked schemes is €110 million.
These three related projects are:
- the M7 3 lane widening between Naas and the M7 merge
- the Sallins by-pass
- the Osberstown Interchange
Minister Pascal Donohoe has already stated that funding is not available in the short term. In response to a parliamentary question, he now says “with regard to the Osberstown interchange and the Sallins bypass the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of each local authority”. Consequently, KCC may now be obliged to find the money for these schemes itself, supplemented by State grants. To put this in context, the cost of these schemes would be equal to about 90% of KCC’s entire annual budget. This is not good enough for government to abdicate responsibility like this and jeopardise these works.