NRA slammed for €2m by-pass

NRA slammed for €2m by-pass 
Construction work on Longford’s new N5 by-pass encountered a €2m overspend, it has been revealed.

Construction work on Longford’s new N5 by-pass encountered a €2m overspend, it has been revealed.

The project, consisting of a 2.6km single carriageway route, was opened in 2012 by then Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

Speaking at last week’s meeting of Longford County Council, Cllr Padraig Loughrey asked how the contract was allowed to overrun by such a large margin.

Despite Head of Finance Barry Lynch insisting the additional monies came from National Roads Authority pursestrings, several members voiced their dismay at the figures.

“I knew of two to three companies that priced the N5 by-pass but were beaten by around €500,000,” said a visibly annoyed Cllr Martin Mulleady.

“If it is a fixed price contract, then it’s a fixed price contract.”

His opposite number, Fine Gael Cllr Colm Murray appeared just as aggrieved. The maths lecturer also asked how a contract worth an initial €7m could end up in a final claim being submitted for €16m.

“Where do these people come up with these figures?” Cllr Murray asked.

“What sort of engineeers have they got looking at these figures. There has to be serious questions asked here because this is a serious overrun.”

County Council CEO Tim Caffrey attempted to clarify the situation by contending an independent concilliatory arbitrator was involved in ensuring all eventualities were carefully scrutinised.

Despite the council being none the worse financially for the overspend, questions, he said, still remained.

“It is a legal process and where they (conciliatory arbitrator) come up with a finding that money has to be paid,” he said.

“It does bother us (council) no matter who is paying for it because at the end of the day it is the taxpayer.”

Cllr Peggy Nolan agreed as she launched a scathing attack on senior figures NRA figures.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see there is a flaw in the system,” she said. “We need to call the NRA to book on this. They must have had an engineer on site to verify that this was necessary.”