Unmanned high-tech traffic unit adding to city’s major congestion woes

The unmanned high-tech traffic unit in Galway city is compounding the major traffic problems which have been experienced over the last 18 months, according to Cllr Mike Crowe.

Cllr Crowe says the unit, a team which operated signalised traffic lights from a central office, was created to help alleviate the traffic congestion in the city, but it has all but disappeared due to lack of resources. Workers who have retired or moved on have not been replaced.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said: "Two years ago the traffic was flowing better than it is today, and part of the reason for that was because, while the travel control unit was not manned 24/7, it was manned at key times, and it certainly was manned a lot more than it has been in recent months.

"The people who were operating it are no longer there and, as well as that, a number of engineers who worked within the transport infrastructure unit have moved on. So I believe the first objective is securing the relevant qualified staff to operate that particular unit."

Cllr Crowe says the executives within Galway city and county councils must work with councillors and local businesses to solve the city's traffic problems.

"The problem can be solved but it needs a focused, concentrated effort, made up of the qualified personnel within the city council, the qualified people within the county council, the business people who understand problems that management may not comprehend; perhaps a committee; and all these groups need to collaborate and pull in the one direction.

"This is important because in the past we would have four or five different strands of opinion trying to solve the one problem and that just does not work.

"I believe this problem should be front and centre for the next 12 months. Over the last 12 months Galway 2020 was at the forefront of the local authorities' minds. There were no resources spared and no stones left unturned for that.

"This illustrates what can be achieved when the senior executives within Galway City Council and Galway County Council collaborate with businesses and work with councillors."

Cllr Crowe was also concerned about how the traffic affected the city's image.

"It is a bad image for the city but it can be addressed. I believe the roundabouts at Bohermore and Menlo Park should be the first roundabouts to go and should all be operated via traffic signalised junctions and ultimately, linked into the traffic control unit, operated by qualified people and then we would see a marked improvement."

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