Plans for a vehicle only bridge in the city were presented by engineers from RPS consultants to city councillors at Monday’s city council meeting.
The crossing will be built 20 metres downstream of the Salmon Weir Bridge, will be low impact, sensitive to the surrounding landscape, and the path of geese which use the river as a guide for migrating to Lough Corrib.
A number of options were looked at including a pedestrian bridge at Bowling Green and using the old Galway-Clifden railway towers, neither of which was viable.
The firm studied vehicular and pedestrian movements along the river, highlighting The Salmon Weir Bridge as an area of high priority, and unfit for its current purpose.
In order to alleviate traffic congestion, and the turning of larger trucks and buses, it has been proposed that a straight through bridge be put in place.
The new bridge is seen as a safer option to the Salmon Weir Bridge which is too narrow for the level of traffic it carries, with little room for pedestrians to navigate the pathways. Currently larger vehicles must also cross the road to turn at the courthouse side.
It is foreseen that the future of the Salmon Weir Bridge will become a focal point in the city offering a public amenity and room for the provision of a kiosk; it will also be a safer crossing point for cyclists and pedestrians.
Councillor Billy Cameron is supportive of the proposal: “There is a huge draw in enhancing the area for cyclists and pedestrians, but will also camouflage the eel boxes,” he said.
However there is one matter that concerns him: “There is a unique fig tree there, its removal would be an environmental matter”.
Following positive response from councillors, director of services Ciaran Hayes said: “The next challenge is to seek funding and go ahead with it”.