The Galway to Dublin N6 motorway which has been under construction for the past 33 months will officially open in the first week of the new year.
Over the past few weeks, the number of crew working on the site has risen from 600 to 900 as they rush to prepare the massive motorway for its top surfacing which will begin in the next few weeks.
The new motorway which commences at a massive roundabout currently being constructed at Doughiska, will cut the Dublin to Galway journey time to just two hours and complete the first coast to coast motorway in this country.
However, angry county councillors told this week’s Galway County Council meeting that they will join in blockades to stop traffic using the motorway through parts of East Galway unless roads which have allegedly been damaged by the construction company building the road are repaired.
A sum of €1.5 million was set aside for this purpose but councillors and locals are sure that a sum in excess of €10 million will be needed to repair the damage caused to local roads which were used to service the west’s biggest ever construction site.
This week, Cllr Michael Mullins said that some of the roads look like “scenes from a warzone,” and have been left in an appalling state. He said that he is afraid that the funding will not be approved to put this right before the road opens.
“€1.5million is just a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed for this,” he said, adding that it is the Galway County Council which will get the fallout from this unease among locals, even though the building contract is between the NRA and the N6 Construction company.
He was supported by Cllr Dermot Connolly who said that there has not been any commitment from N6 to repair the roads, while Cllr Tomas Mannion said that the roads are left in a bad state and “here they are talking about an opening date.”
Cllr Mogie Maher said that the claims of locals who have had vehicles damaged have been largely ignored, while Cllr Bridie Willers said that the damage caused has been ”disgraceful”.
Cllr Jim Cuddy said it was an insult and that the Council should not allow it to be open until the repairs have been carried out.
John Morgan, Director of Services in the Council’s Roads and Transportation Unit, said that the €1.5 million figure was just this year’s allocation and that he hoped more would be released in 2010. He pointed out that N6 has the contract to operate the road for 30 years, so it will not be walking away from the issue.
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