Tuesday 14 August 2007

Transport project delays defended by State

THE Government has defended a decision to push back the deadlines on some of the country's major transport projects.

Commuters in Dublin were hit with the news yesterday that they will have to put up with road works on the M50 for another year.

The deadline for the completion of work on the ring road has been pushed back from 2009 to 2010, along with a number of other major projects.

A statement from the department blamed the delays on "tendering issues".

It emerged yesterday that almost one third of 39 infrastructural projects announced as part of Transport 21 have been delayed.

Among the projects which have had their deadlines changed are the completion of a new train depot at Portlaoise which was initially set for 2007 but has now been moved back to 2008 and the Luas docklands extension, moved from 2008 to 2009.

But yesterday's statement from the Dept of Transport said the initial dates were "indicative only" and were mentioned only when many of the projects were at planning and design stage.

"Final completion dates for projects will only be determined when the planning process and contract negotiations have been concluded," said the statement.

"So far, it has been necessary to revise the indicative completion dates for some projects because of circumstances arising before construction (duration of planning permission and tendering processes) while other projects have been delivered ahead of schedule."

Among other delayed projects are the Luas extension from Connolly to the Docklands, the Luas extension from Tallaght to Citywest and the Cork commuter service to Midleton.

Shane Hickey
Irish Independent

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