Plans for half of the projects under the remit of the National Roads Authority (NRA) are to be suspended this month.
The NRA has confirmed that it will take the vote on the suspension of the planning of projects in January as a result of a 20 per cent cut in its budget for this year. The capital provision for national roads will be €1.115 billion, down €287 million on 2009. The vast bulk of this will be spent on the completion of the four inter-urban motorways from Dublin to Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.
It is believed that the vote will result in around half of the NRA’s 55 projects, which are in the planning stages, being put on hold - but a spokesman for the semi-state body said no decision had been made on which projects would be in the firing line. However, it could mean that plans for roads such as the Dublin eastern bypass, the Galway city outer bypass and the M20 Cork to Limerick and Cork northern ring road could all be shelved indefinitely.
NRA spokesman Seán O’Neill said it was too early to speculate on how many, or which, projects where planning would be suspended.
‘‘There is over €1 billion committed to projects already in the ground, so we have to work with the balance of resources, which is significantly down. The programme of ongoing projects and works will be reviewed by the board before a decision is made on a suspension of some of these," he said.
A construction industry source said, however, that around half, or more, of the current projects in planning will need to be suspended and any major projects ‘‘will not get near the ground’’ for several years at least.
‘‘Based on the financial requirements for these projects, compared to the finance that is there, it’s just not feasible or possible to progress with most of the programme," the source said.
Many of the schemes on the N2 (Ashbourne to Ardee), N5 (Longford to Westport), N25 (between Waterford and Cork), N24 in Tipperary and N22 in Kerry are in planning stages.