Plans for a new route for the Galway City Outer Bypass are on course to be finalised early next year and will go on public display ahead of a submission of a new planning application.
The Galway County Council is the lead agency charged with developing new plans for the bypass, the original plans for which became a long, tortured, often controversial, and much delayed saga over the past 15 years.
The local authority was required to develop new plans a bypass after planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for the original plans was refused following a challenge to the Supreme Court.
The county council has prepared revised proposals for a new route and funding of €2 million was secured this year to advance the plans. These are near completion and will be available for the public to view in the first months of 2015.
The new application will be made under Article 6(4 ) of the Habitats Directive, which accepts the development will impact on a protected environment but seeks to proceed on the basis that there are “imperative reasons of overriding public interest”.
Fine Gael Galway West TD Brian Walsh has welcomed this development, saying it will “get this much-needed project back on track”.
According to Dep Walsh, provided planning permission for the new plans is obtained, the Government has ensured “the path will be clear for this project to proceed”, as funding has been committed under the capital investment plan.
The bypass will also be the subject of a high level meeting between the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohhoe; a delegation of stakeholders, including county council management; and Dep Walsh. It is due to take place early in November - either Monday 3 or Monday 10 - and the Fine Gael TD is confident the ministerial will be supportive of the project.