Work on the proposed M17 from Gort to the north of Tuam, and including the Tuam town bypass, will begin in November and should be completed in 2014.
The news comes just one month after Galway’s other main motorway the M6 was opened to traffic and its completion has highlighted the need for the M17 work to begin.
The National Roads Authority yesterday (Wednesday ) confirmed the time frame for the project. The 57Km piece of dual carriageway should be fully constructed within a two to 2.5 year timeframe. Once completed motorists will be able to travel from the new bypass in Gort to the north side of Tuam.
The NRA also shortlisted two consortia for the next phase of the tender process: BAM Balfour Beatty (consisting of BAM PPP & Balfour Beatty Capital Ltd ) and Direct Route (AIB plc, Strabag SE, John Sisk & Son (Holdings ) Ltd, Roadbridge and Lagan Construction Ltd ).
The news has been welcomed by Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Frank Fahey
“The road will have a major impact on traffic congestion in Claregalway as it will remove all north/south bound through traffic from the village,” he said. “The NRA states that this roadway will take 80 per cent of the traffic out of Claregalway
“This section of the road now completes the Atlantic corridor and it is a highly significant project in that it gives motorway status from the area north of Tuam, through Galway, Clare and right down to Limerick. The tunnel in Limerick will open in the next couple of months.
“It will be a major impetus to economic development in the west. Significantly it will also bring the west closer to the main ferry link with Britain in Rosslare, as the route will eventually be motorway all the way.”
He confirmed that there is no toll on this stretch of road and that this was a point that was specifically argued strongly for with the late former Transport Minister Seamus Brennan.
“It means that people coming from north Galway will be able to use the motorway on to the M6, and from spaghetti junction they will be able to go directly into the city. The two motorways will meet adjacent to Atheny Golf Club on the Athenry side.
“Its development once again brings into focus the urgency of the Galway City Outer Bypass being delivered, as there will be two motorways coming onto the roundabout at Doughiska.
The NRA traffic surveys have shown that the new M17 motorway will take a significant amount of traffic out of Claregalway and this should dramatically improve traffic congestion and the number of rat runs in the Claregalway, Carnmore, and Turloughmore area.
“There are three parts to this PPP project – The Tuam Bypass, the Tuam to N6, and the Tuam to Gort road. People laughed at us when we said they would all be delivered together, but great credit is due to the late Seamus Brennan, a man who always kept the best interests of the west at heart when at the Cabinet table,” he said