The Galway City Outer Bypass “won’t happen any time soon” and its future is in “serious doubt”, at least in the short to medium term according, to Fianna Fáil councillor Michael J Crowe.
The bypass, which has been mooted, planned, discussed, and debated for the past decade, was close to getting the go ahead in 2008. However concerns over certain parts of its construction and its impact on the natural environment in certain parts of west Galway led to An Bord Pleanála approving only part of the project.
Two judicial reviews were taken challenging the ABP decision and the EU Commission also expressed concerns that the EU Habitats Directive was not complied with.
As a result the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and the Minister for the Environment Gormley want to refer the decision to the European Court of Justice to provide clarity in relation to the Habitats Directive, its implications for the Galway City Outer Bypass, and the implications for future infrastructural works.
This has led Cllr Crowe to declare that “the project is in serious doubt”.
“We have to be honest with people and state that this project is at best on the long finger,” he said. “The city and county and our local economy needs this road but it’s highly unlikely to happen any time soon. There is no point in pretending anything else.”
Cllr Crowe said he “cannot understand” why all of these issues could not have been addressed in a “proper organised manner”.
“It is interesting that Waterford could sort their issues out in a relatively short space of time and now have their bypass completed and open,” he said.
Cllr Crowe believes the difference between Galway and Waterford was that there was “full commitment and serious pressure” by Waterford’s Dáil deputies and ministers to develop the project.