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Funding for N5 project ‘hopeful’, but N26 unlikely

News
Council hoping to get funding for N5 project but N26 remains unlikely


Castlebar
Edwin McGreal


The proposed new N5 route from Turlough to Westport is ‘virtually ready’ to go to CPO stage and Mayo County Council are hopeful that funding will be approved for the project.
However the expectation is less positive with respect to the long standing plans for the N5/N26 Bohola to Ballina proposed new route. Nothing definite will be known about either project until after a Government review of funding in October.
Tony McNulty, Senior Engineer at the Roads Design Office at the council told yesterday’s (Monday) meeting of the Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of the status of both projects.
“The N5 Westport to Turlough project is virtually ready to go to CPO (compulsory purchase order) stage. There just is some tweaking of the CPO mapping. Once that is done it can go to the NRA and their approval is subject to Department [of Transport] funding and, ultimately, IMF approval,” he said.
“With regard to the N5/N26 project, we have no approval or progress to report unfortunately. I’m optimistic we will be going to the CPO stage with the N5 but the worrying one is the N5/N26, there has been no progress there.”
“So is it back to square one there,” asked Cllr Jimmy Maloney.
“It’s worse than that, it’s behind square one.” replied Mr McNulty.
Chairman of the SPC, Cllr Jarlath Munnelly said that he, council Cathaoirleach Cllr Austin O’Malley and council engineer Joe Beirne had recently met with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar at Knock Airport to discuss the issue of the N26 project.
“He gave no commitments either way but did paint a bleak picture in terms of finance. He told us that there is a review at government level in October and it will be discussed there. The N5 project is ready to go to CPO and it shouldn’t be forgotten that the N26 project is further down the road in terms of progress either,” said Cllr Munnelly.
Tony McNulty said that the October review will dictate how much funding the NRA has but urged local politicians to keep campaigning for the two projects.
Mr McNulty also informed the meeting that ‘substantial progress’ was being made on upgrade works for the Westport to Newport to Mulranny road with the contract tender down to three companies and he hoped that the winning contractor would be on site by the end of October. He added that contractors were currently being sought for N60 improvements either side of Balla village.