Fianna Fáil Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath has called on the Transport Minister Shane Ross to confirm on behalf of government when the main construction contract will be awarded for the upgrade of the Dunkettle interchange and to set a date for the start of the construction works.
Deputy McGrath commented, “I recently put down a very specific Dáil Question to Minister Ross about the planned upgrade of the Dunkettle interchange. I asked the Minister when he expects the main construction work to commence at the interchange. The Minister referred my question to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and they replied to the effect ‘…it is hoped that TII will be in a position to agree and award the contract for the main construction works later this year’. Given the advanced stage of preparation this project is at, the somewhat evasive and non-committal nature of the reply is of concern.
“The TII had previously said that the main construction contract would be awarded early in 2019. The delay in awarding this contract is deeply disappointing and this delay has come amid speculation of a significant cost escalation. This is all the more reason why Minister Ross needs to reassure Cork motorists that this project will proceed at an early date.
“I would have at least expected TII to be in a position to confirm a start date at this stage. Anyone travelling through the tunnel in the morning or evening is well aware of how much of a bottleneck this junction is. Given that the construction work will take some three years, this contract needs to be put in place as quickly as possible so that the major construction phase can get underway”, concluded Deputy McGrath.