Now that the exact route of the proposed Galway bypass has been identified, affected property owners at various locations across the city are still coming to terms with the fact their homes will have to be knocked to facilitate the road. Other property owners who will not be subject to demolition face the reality of living in extremely close proximity to a busy national artery.
Last Thursday 500 letters were sent out to notify people whose land or property lies within the preferred 150 metre corridor of the N6 Galway Transport Project. However this corridor will be substantially narrowed as the road itself will take up a width of between 25 and 50 metres depending on the location. Fourty one houses will need to be demolished if planning permission for the new road is granted while 10 more homes will be 'severely impacted'.
The area around the Headford Road is facing the biggest loss of property with 11 houses set to be demolished along this section while along the N59 Barna Road, eight houses need to be knocked to make way for the new route. Consultants revealed that nine houses in the Castlegar area are in the firing line for demolition - four on School Rd, two properties further up that road and three properties in nearby Bothar An Choiste.
The new road ties into the existing R336 at aroundabout 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 vehicles 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 Road 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 off 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 NUIG recreational lands. Two of the university's playing pitches are affected - a hurling pitch, and an area that had planning permission for a multi-surface pitch. Nine houses are being demolished to facilitate this section.
The N6 will cross the River Corrib via a new bridge which will be located near Menlo Castle. 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 enters a tunnel at Lackagh quarry. This enables the road to avoid the priority habitat around Lough Corrib.
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 Racetrack is avoided, the road proceeds in a tunnel to the north of the course 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.
An extensive round of public consultation with affected property owners has now begun. This includes 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 respectively.
The 41 homeowners whose houses are in 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. Project manager Eileen McCarthy said the road bypasses the 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.''
Zoom in on the map below to see to route in detail.