A Fianna Fáil candidate is calling for the proposed new pedestrian bridge over the River Corrib to be instead used for vehicles, especially for public transport, and for the Salmon Weir Bridge to become pedestrianised.
Fianna Fáíl Galway City West candidate, John Connolly, is calling on the Galway City Council to give consideration to such a proposal, "as a means of improving public transport journeys between the city centre and the western suburbs".
The council is seeking planning permission for a new pedestrian footbridge over the River Corrib, adjacent to the existing Salmon Weir Bridge. The conceptual design stage has been completed, with construction expected to begin towards the end of next year.
'The contour of the current bridge means there are at least two points on the bridge where a bus cannot pass a car. This could be alleviated by making the new bridge vehicular'
The council expects the pedestrian footbridge to complement the city's walking and cycle network. The Salmon Weir Bridge is one of the city's busiest traffic points, but its narrow footpaths have long made it a cause of concern for pedestrian safety. "I don’t know how people have not been killed with the amount of traffic on the road," Fine Gael councillor Padraig Conneely told a recent council meeting. "Thousands use it on a daily basis. It is only a miracle there haven’t been more accidents."
The proposal has largely been welcomed by councillors, but Mr Connolly, is calling on City Hall to re-think the plan, saying it is "too good a public transport opportunity not to be examined".
Mr Connolly said the stretch of road from the lights at the Galway Courthouse to UHG is "a key public transport route" and "Galway’s busiest public transport artery", as it is used by the 402, 404, 405, 411, and 412 busses, as well as by buses servicing the N59 route and by private operators.
He believes the current Salmon Weir Bridge "is not conducive" to good public transport and that a pedestrian solution "will not enhance it". He said: "The contour of the current bridge means there are at least two points on the bridge where a bus cannot pass a car. This could be alleviated by making the new bridge vehicular", while the Salmon Weir Bridge could then be turned into one "exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists".
Mr Connolly has written to the City Hall design team asking it to give consideration to his proposal.