Claregalway bypass kicked even further down the road

Traffic at a standstill in Claregalway.

It now looks like it will be at least four years before consideration is again given to a bypass for Claregalway – and even then there is no guarantee it will get the green light.

A Department of Transport source has revealed that there will be no movement on the €20 million project any time before 2020.

The source told The Connacht Tribune that nothing will be done in advance of the Gort to Tuam motorway works being completed – and that is due to open in early 2018.

The Department will then carry out an ongoing survey of the amount of traffic being diverted away from Claregalway before making any decision on the provision of a bypass for the village.

But Cllr Jim Cuddy said that – regardless of the motorway – there was still a need for a bypass of the village in view of the fact that there will be 1,000 students attending the secondary school while there are big numbers attending the primary school and the Educate Together facility.

The independent councillor warned that motorway traffic would end up in a bottleneck in Doughiska – and he did not believe that it would reduce the traffic through Claregalway to any large degree.

It is now more than ten years ago since a bypass was first mooted for Claregalway. Residents in and around the village are pestered by the volumes of traffic that use inferior roads as rat-runs in order to avoid the tailbacks.

At one stage Deputy Noel Grealish was promised a Claregalway bypass by 2012 for his support of the Fianna Fail-led Government at the time but this failed to materialise.

A route had been selected and it was ready to go to compulsory purchase order when the Department of Transport – then under Minister Leo Varadkar – pulled the plug.

The Department wanted the Gort to Tuam motorway constructed so that they could determine the volume of traffic that would be taken away from Claregalway as a result of this project.

Cllr Jim Cuddy said that irrespective of the impact of the motorway, a bypass for Claregalway was still needed. “You should see some of the roads that motorists are travelling in order to avoid traffic . . . two cars can’t pass on some stretches”, he added.

He added: “If there will be nothing for four years, then it will be at least another two or three before it is provided . . . if ever.”