After last Wednesday’s non-statutory public consultation at the Ballinfoile Community Centre, the N6 Kirwan Roundabout Improvement Scheme will move on to the assessment stage.
The assessment will identify the emerging preferred option to be brought forward to the design and planning stage and will include safety assessments; traffic studies; environmental issues; engineering issues; and cost-benefit analysis.
Members of the public are still being encouraged to submit their observations and feedback by Friday February 10.
Halcrow Barry Consultants presented the public with six options to revamp the roundabout which has been the scene of traffic chaos for the past number of years.
Option 1 details a five arm junction which would be the first of its kind in Ireland on a main route, and is favoured by the committee as it would have the least impact on local stakeholders.
Option 2A involves a link road to Liosban with Sandy Road being one way and a four arm junction on the N84.
Option 2B is a new link road to Liosban, parallel to the N6, and a three arm junction on the N6, and a four arm junction on the N84 with Sandy Road being one way.
Option 2D involves a link road through the Nox Hotel to Liosban, a three arm junction on the N6, a four arm junction on the N84 with Sandy Road being one way.
Option 3A diverts Coolagh Road to the N6 Headford Road, relocating Dunnes shopping centre’s entrance to form a four arm junction with the Coolagh Road and a four arm junction on the N84.
Option 3B diverts Coolagh Road to the N84 Headford Road to create a three arm junction with a four arm junction on the N84.
City councillors were in disagreement over the plans to install a traffic lights controlled junction at the Menlo roundabout when City Hall was presented with the six options earlier in January.
The chamber was told Transport Infrastructure Ireland had committed to funding the project and that it was hoped that the preferred choice would be presented to councillors in April.
The revamping of the roundabout is estimated to cost €1.2 million.
In response to the proposals Cllr Donal Lyons said; “I am glad a five arm signalised junction is being looked at; something must be done at that roundabout. Option one is preferred choice if feasible. However, I propose a filter lane from N84 towards Coolagh Road on option 3B.”
Sinn Féin councillor Mark Lohan agreed with Cllr Lyons, saying, “A five arm junction in Dublin and across Europe has worked well. It can be effective and efficient and allowed traffic to flow. Other options would be regrettable as they would damage the urban forest which is a jewel in the city.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Crowe disagreed with the five arm junction proposal and said it was time the chamber took a politically brave decision for the benefit of the city.
“This matter should have been dealt with a number of years ago. I do not believe based on the data I see here how this can work with five arms. I am not going support this as I believe it [five arm junction] is a waste of money and it is not going to reduce throughput or traffic times. Our best interests lie in a four arm junction and ideally less.”
Cllr Colette Connolly said that all hell broke loose among residents and the many businesses in the area when traffic lights were proposed for the Kirwan roundabout.
“We will not be able to meet the needs of everyone. I agree with Cllr Crowe that the five arm junction idea is ridiculous and is not going to result in major benefits for anyone. I do not have much hope.”
Cllr Frank Fahy said the belief traffic moves much faster with traffic lights than roundabouts was a myth.
“I do not see any difference except lights; our problem is volume. We have sat on our hands nationally and locally over this. It should have been sorted 20 years ago. This is a sticking plaster on the main route through the city.”
Labour councillor Billy Cameron urged the chamber to be positive about the proposals. “Let us get on to the final two roundabouts on the N6 and let us show some positivity. This is part of the jigsaw that will lead us to a solution.”
Galway City West councillor Peter Keane echoed Cllr Cameron’s sentiments asking councillors to be assertive. “We must not do nothing. We missed the boat and bottled it last time because we were three months out from election. We cannot wait until 2025. We must make positive decisions to improve the situation on the N6. Priority must be given to N6.”