Reaction continues this evening following the revelation of the chosen route for the proposed new Galway city bypass. 41 homes are in line for demolition and 10 more are 'severely affected' by the preferred corridor. At a media briefing earlier today further detail about the new road was revealed.
The overall aim of the N6 Galway City Transport Project, as this bypass is now known, is to develop a sustainable solution to the congestion issues that exist in Galway city and to better connect the west of Galway (Connemara ) to the rest of the country.
The new road ties into the existing R336 at an at-grade roundabout junction approximately 2km west of Barna Village and then proceeds north of the village towards Letteragh. This section connects the R336 and Connemara to the national road network. Barna Village is bypassed meaning 10,000 vechicles which currently use the village will be transferred to the bypass. Three houses will be demolished on this section.
Section 2 provides connectivety to Knocknacarra - roundabouts are planned at the crossing point of the Barna to Moycullen Rd and at the Ballymoneen Road. A dual-carrigeway is likely to commence from the townland of Letteragh with a junction to connect the N59. This will relieve the Seamas Quirke road and it is hoped this move will take 5,000 vehicles of the Quincentenary Bridge. Currently 34,000 vehicles use the bridge on a daily basis. One house is being demolished on the Ballymoneen Rd.
The N6 travels over the N59 at Dangan through NUIGs recreational lands at Dangan. Two of the university's playing pitches are affected. Nine houses are being demolished to facilitate this section. NUI Galway has released a statement today describing the road announcement as 'disapointing.'
The N6 will cross the River Corrib via a new bridge structure. All parties involved in the planning of this new road have acknowledged that the River Corrib is a significant constraint and to get the city's traffic flow working again, another bridge crossing is needed.
To the east of the river, the N6 is generally on embankments or viaduct structures before entering a tunnel at Lackagh quarry. This enables the road to avoid the priority habitat.
After exiting the tunnel section 5 links up with the N84 and the N17. Signalised junctions are provided to facilitate access to Parkmore and Ballybrit thus relieving the current Briarhill junction and relieving the bottleneck at Ballybrit Crescent.
Galway racecourse itself is avoided, the road proceeds in a tunnel to the north of the track taking in the stable yard. The stables will be demolished to make way for the tunnel construction but will be rebuilt when it is completed.
The road will then turn south to connect to a large junction south of the existing Briarhill junction in the townland of Coolagh. Coolagh vilage itself is avoided. This will provide a clear exit to the western end of the M6. This will relieve the existing bottleneck at the roundabout where the M6 motorway currently ends.
The bypass cost has been estimated at €500 million and if planning permission is granted, it is hoped construction will begin in 2018 with 2020 being given as the current date for completion.
There will now be an extensive round of public consultation with affected property owners. So far consultation has involved display material being made available for four weeks, over 300 hundreds meetings and over 1,000 submissions from the public. Further consultation will now include one-to-one meetings with home-owners and land-owners as well as public consultation days at the Westwood and Menlo Park hotels on May 25 and 26.
The 41 homeowners whose houses are line for demolition will come under the realm of the CPO (compulsory purchase order ) process. They will receive the market value of their property and additional payments are also made for severance, and disturbance and injurious affection. Severance could be in the case of a farm which is being cut in half. The level of disturbance is accessed and quantified by the homeowner. The 10 owners whose homes are severely affected will also have the option of selling their properties.
Planners and representatives from ARUP Consulting Engineers believe the chosen route is the best possible option for Galway city. Speaking at today's briefing, project manager Eileen McCarthy said the road bypasses city but it also serves the city. "It provides connectivity between east and west. There is a link to the N17, it provides access to Parkmore and Ballybrit which are two major employment hubs. On the west side, it connects Knocknacarra, and bypasses Barna while also providing connectivity to the village.''
Planners met with city and county councillors for a briefing first thing this morning. City council director of services for transport, Joe O'Neill, said the initial reaction from local representatives was positive. ''Of the three consultations we have had with councillors so far, this has been the most positive. They appreciate the work that has gone into this to get it to this stage. They also appreciate the work that has been done to lessen the impact of the bypass as much as possible."