No move on motorway as Government funds fail to materialise

The prospects of the Gort to Tuam motorway starting early in the New Year have been dealt a huge blow with the National Roads Authority confirming that no contracts have been signed for the project, Declan Tierney for reports.

More than three months ago the Government announced the commencement of the 57 kilometre motorway as part of its stimulus package but since then no funding has been put in place to start the €530 million project.

At the time, the Government announced that the Direct Route consortium was awarded the contract but so far nothing has been signed because of an absence of funding.

It was understood that the Government would source funding from the European Investment Bank for the public private partnership scheme but this has not happened so far.

A source close to the National Roads Authority said that they could not sign any contract with the consortium because the Government had not come up with the funding to progress the motorway.

It is understood that €150 million has now been spent on the project so far – the vast majority of this was in the acquisition of lands through compulsory purchase order. In fact the lands were acquired at a time when property prices were at their peak.

The much delayed project was put out to tender around three years ago and after an arduous process, the successful consortium was BAM Balfour Beatty. However, contracts were not signed because the consortium could not source the necessary finance to commence work on the motorway.

Then in July it was announced that the motorway would be proceeding early in the New Year as part of the Government’s stimulus package but no funding has been made available to the NRA to proceed with the signing of contracts.

Galway West TD Noel Grealish has described the M17/M18 motorway as “nothing but a white elephant” and is now raising the matter in the Dail with the Minister for Transport.

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