The contract for the new M17/ M18 motorway between Gort and Tuam will be signed in January next year, according to Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Frank Fahey.
The National Roads Authority confirmed the news to Dep Fahey on Wednesday with the contract to be signed with the successful tenderer, BAM Balfour Beatty.
Construction will start early in the new year and the project will cover a distance of 57kms at an estimated average cost of €10 million per kilometre. The project should take two years to complete.
Dep Fahey has also asked the NRA and BAM Balfour Beatty to prioritise the section of the road between the N17 Galway-Tuam road outside Tuam town and the new M6 motorway at Cashla, Athenry. This section would then provide for the Claregalway Bypass.
“While it is important that we move towards the beginning of construction of the M17/ M18 motorway, we need to ensure that this section is built first,” said Dep Fahey. “This section will remove heavy traffic from Ardrahan and Clarinbridge and Oranmore. It will also provide a significant improvement for commuter traffic between those towns and Galway city.”
The NRA also believes that the road will result in a “significant reduction” in traffic through Claregalway.
According to Dep Fahey the NRA has a permanent traffic counter just north of Claregalway on the N17 which is currently recording an annual average daily traffic of 21,050. The NRA’s traffic model predicts an approximate 75 per cent drop in traffic through Claregalway once the M17 is open. This would mean the average annual daily traffic would drop from 21,050 to 5,250 in Claregalway.