The Galway City Council is to receive more than €3 million to invest in the city’s regional and local roads, with €1.5 million for upgrade works at Lough Atalia Bridge, leading a local senator to call for works to start ahead of the busy summer season.
On Tuesday, the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe, announced the grant of €3,296,960 million for Galway city - an increase of €1.6 million from last year. It is part of a national investment programme of €294 million for maintenance on c2,000km of the State’s regional and local roads.
The money will go towards increasing headroom on the Lough Atalia Bridge, we well as for works on the Salmon Weir, O’Brien, and Wolfe Tone bridges, and safety projects on the Western Distributor, Kingston Road, Maunsells Road, and Renmore Road.
At a council meeting in January, it was announced that work will start on the bridge in March, subject to funding from the Department of Transport. The meeting also heard that the work, which involves re-aligning and lowering the road under the bridge, will cost more than €2,000,000, following the discovery of fuel contamination. It was also revealed that there was a shortfall in funding of €500,000.
However this week’s grant will significantly go towards meeting those costs and allow for work to proceed. Welcoming the funds, Fine Gael senator Hildegarde Naughton said work on the bridge should start soon, now that the council was in a position to go ahead. “It is important development works are carried out promptly with minimal disruption during the summer season,” she said.
The overall grant will be broken down into €145 million for maintenance, improvement, and strengthening works; €62.5 million for maintenance and strengthening works for which local authorities have discretion in the selection of roads; and €41 million for surface dressing.
A total of €17 million is for specific and strategic regional and local road projects; €11 million for bridge inspections, training, maproad, and road safety measures; €7.7 million for bridge rehabilitation works; €5.8 million for low cost safety improvement works; and a €4.2 million for urban block grant.
Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh said: “Ensuring the upkeep and maintenance of our road network is essential in facilitating our future economic growth and securing job creation.”
Minister Donohoe also announced that the Galway County Council is to get €19.8 million, a more than 10 per cent increase from 2014. Of this figure, €1.3 million has been allocated to tackle the effects of severe weather on the road network, while €2.8 million is for restoration and maintenance.
Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne welcomed the funding, saying it “recognises that local authorities, armed with local knowledge and experiences, are in a much better position to examine and take decisions on local roads”.
Of the county allocation, €375,000 is for improvement works and safety measures in Claregalway. Of that €290,000 is for resurfacing, drainage, and footpaths, while €85,000 is for safety improvements at the Loughgeorge junction and to address constant flooding outside private houses in the area. According to Independent county councillor Jim Cuddy, improvement works will be carried out at the entrance to the Claregalway Hotel. He has also requested the county council conduct improvement works at the entrance to the Lakeview estate, and install a pedestrian crossing between the two local bus stops.