Galway is to benefit from €4.1 million in funds for transport initiatives throughout 2012, with the first instalment of €20 - €25 million coming this week.
The funding is being allocated through the National Transport Authority under the Regional Cities Accessibility Programme.
From the first tranche of funding, €400,000 will go towards upgrading Ceannt Station. The works will involve improving bus, rail, and taxi interchange while footpaths will be widened and proper bus bays supplied.
Other projects which will receive funding include a new bus lane on the Rahoon Road; €400,000 in funding for a new state-of-the-art traffic management centre at City Hall; funding of €1.6 million will be provided for junction alterations to Bishop O’Donnell and the Seamus Quirke roads.
There will be €650,000 for a new eastbound bus lane for Rahoon Road in order to benefit public transport users, particularly those availing of City Direct services in Knocknacarra, Barna and Rahoon.
A total of €200,000 will also be spent on new signage and information boards at Salthill Prom and the canal walks. Also, €50,000 will be granted for a study will be commissioned to look at better ways of utilising the Salmon Weir Bridge, including examining a one-way traffic flow or signal controlled shuttle traffic to deal with bottleneck and safety concerns at that crossing.
Funding has also been granted to facilitate the widening of footpaths on Bridge Street to include works on O’Brien’s Bridge. A total of €250,000 will also be provided to allow for the continued construction of the Fisheries Field Greenway linking NUI Galway with the cathedral and the university’s offsite playing fields.
Nearly €300,000 is being allocated to improve the bus priority corridors at the Monivea Road/Wellpark junction. There will also funds for the realignment of the junction between Headford Road and Tirellan Heights to allow the No 7 bus to negotiate a turn into Tirellan Heights. An upgrade to the junction near Thermo King in Mervue is also included.
There is a total of 16 projects to be carried out and most have completion dates for 2012. The funding was announced this week by the Minister for Public & Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly.
“We are treating Galway as a key priority in the national transport plans for the future,” he said. “It is a major tourism hub for the country so improving traffic management and facilitating cycling and walking should improve the experience of the city for residents and visitors.”
He added that only four per cent of work trips in Galway city are made using public transport, “people need to be given other options”.
Fine Gael Galway West TD Sean Kyne said the funds will “tackle some of city’s transport problems.”
Minister Kelly’s party colleague, Labour Galway West TD Derek Nolan, has also welcomed the funds.
He said that as the funding is part of a multi-annual budget, it will allow City Hall to proceed with a “clear medium term plan as to what it can achieve”.
“The announcement is a welcome boost for Galway commuters,” he said. “This investment will fund transport projects that will have a very positive effect on commuter and pedestrian traffic.”