Minister hints that upgrade plan for M7 bottleneck may be unveiled 'shortly'

Paschal Donohoe
The Transport Minister has hinted that an urgent upgrade of the traffic-clogged M7 bottleneck around Naas and Newbridge may be given the green light soon. Paschal Donohoe said that spending on the roads network has been slashed due to the recession but he will be announcing a new funding plan soon. KildareNow revealed earlier this month that the Government is considering a multi-million euro upgrade of 15km of the M7 between the 'Naas Ball' and the M9 Interchange by adding an extra lane in both directions. The route is regularly congested in both directions due to growing volumes of traffic at peak times - and average vehicle numbers have jumped by 3,000 in the past year alone. Mr Donohoe said: "The Government will shortly publish a new Capital Plan which will take into account the maintenance and strengthening needs of the national, regional and local road network in order to ensure that the existing network is fit for purpose in meeting the needs of the travelling public and of industry and businesses. "It will also take account of the need to upgrade certain roads to improve access to poorly served regions, for large scale employment proposals, to complete missing links and to address critical safety issues. "I am happy that the Plan will represent a positive response to meeting these various needs." Mr Donohoe, who was responding to a Dail question by his Fine Gael party colleague Bernard Durkan, said spending on the road network waas cut from €2.3 billion in 2008 to €764 million this year. Mr Durkan said upgrading of the M7 Naas to Newbridge Bypass upgrade scheme incorporating Newhall interchange/Sallins Bypass/M7 Osberstown interchange was vital for potential economic benefits for the area which is plagued by traffic congestion.

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