Infrastructure deficits remain, report warns

Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 00:00

Transport services in Ireland are underperforming despite billion-euro investments in recent years.

That is according to the third annual review of infrastructure, carried out by Engineers Ireland.

Energy

The review, which graded the State’s transport, energy, water, waste and communications services, found transport services overall merited a C grade, which it defined as “inadequately maintained, unable to meet peak demand and requiring significant investment”.

It was particularly critical of the railways and non-motorway roads, which were given a D grade – defined as being in an “unacceptable condition” having “insufficient capacity” and adversely “impacting on the national economy”.

While Luas, Dart and intercity trains were “ usually” capable of meeting demand, and were “generally well maintained”, the main deficit was “connectivity” between services. The review said Iarnród Éireann infrastructure was “not geared to address environmental and low-carbon concerns” and was “not designed to take people out of their cars, or to drive a significant modal shift”.

The motorways were found to be up to European standards but “invariably link to Dublin”, while links between other cities were “much less impressive” the review said.

Beyond the motorways the remaining road network was “in a very variable condition”. Insufficient investment in non-national roads over 10 years has coincided with harsh winters undermining the network.

The State’s airports were given a B grade – defined as an acceptable standard. The review found the commercial sea ports were generally well maintained but a new strategy for the sea ports, particularly deep-water ports, must evolve.

Water

Also performing poorly in infrastructural terms were the State’s water services. The review said the service was “still inadequately maintained” while the programme to install domestic water meters was scheduled to begin within 12 months.