One of the final pieces in the jigsaw of the N6 corridor has been given the thumbs up by Galway city councillors despite concerns from local residents.
The Kirwan Roundabout is the sixth along the corridor to be converted to a signalised junction in an effort to free up traffic congestion in the city.
The conversion was not popular with local residents as it will mean the realignment of the Menlo Park Hotel exit, directly impacting 1,700 residents.
City officials were faced with the need to extinguish one leg of the five leg junction in order to ensure a signalised junction be put in place. Three options were placed on the table with the realignment of the Menlo Park exit being “the preferred option”, according to director of services Ciarán Hayes.
Fine Gael councillor Frank Fahy had major concerns over the acquisition of lands for the realignment of the road.
There will be no traffic lights on the exit, leaving residents to rely on a yellow box to assist entrance and exit to the area. In order to appease residents it was proposed by Independent councillor Terry O’Flaherty that pending review after a year in operation the council will review the option of installing lights at the Menlo Park Hotel exit.
Cllr Fahy however said: “Engineers from AECOM told me six months ago it was not feasible to install lights at that junction, and now Cllr O’Flaherty wants to put them in.”
After much heated debate about the junction councillors agreed to accept the recommendations of city officials, and to include Cllr O’Flaherty’s proposal to review the need for lights at the junction after 12 months.
The decision will see the realignment of the Menlo Park Hotel exit with the N84 on the Headford road side of the junction. Cllr Fahy said that the decision shows “no thought for the 1,700 people living there”.
Other options presented to councillors included the ‘do nothing’ approach, or to close the Liosbán Business Park leg of the junction. Closing this junction would have required the creation of a new road further up the N6 to enter the estate through a section of the Terryland Forest Park.
Councillors raised serious concerns over the impact that this decision would have on jobs and businesses in the park.
Fianna Fáil councillor Peter Keane said: “We cannot risk the loss of jobs by severing the entrance to Liosbán. If we are left with a roundabout in the middle of a signalised route we will dilute the effectiveness of the route.”
Director Hayes insisted that realigning the Menlo Park Hotel exit was the preferable option in order reduce rat running through Menlo, and to ensure that jobs in the Liosbán estate were not affected.
He also told councillor that the Font and Morris roundabouts will be completed by the end of the month, with a view for works to begin on Bodkin next year, once funding is sourced for the completion of the project.