Council seeks to buy land to sort Parkmore traffic nightmare

Local authority officials hope to negotiate agreement with four stakeholders to purchase land to help speed up the proposed solution to the chronic congestion woes experienced at the notorious Parkmore bottleneck in the city.

Engineers in Galway City Council have devised a new roads’ layout aimed at solving the acute traffic problems daily at Parkmore and Briarhill.

However, in order to complete the new traffic-relieving intersection, the Council requires additional road space and will have to purchase land from four local stakeholders.

The Council will look to agree a reasonable price to buy the necessary land voluntarily in order to streamline the project and to avoid a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order), which could be time consuming with additional legal costs.

The stakeholders in question include a farmer, a landowner, a receiver who is in control of one particular piece of land, and supermarket giants, Tesco.

Galway West TD, Noel Grealish, said the stakeholders were presented with the plans last week and the Council is engaged in talks with them.

The Independent TD said if the Council doesn’t reach agreement, a CPO would have to be pursued which could delay the solution by a year or more.

“If we can get agreement to buy the land without a CPO, then we’re talking about completing this by next year. If we have to go to a CPO, then that could be between six and twelve months of a delay and then it could be later in 2019 before this is finished.

“It’s not a huge amount of land you’re talking about but you’d be amazed what you can do with it. The drawings are excellent and provide a solution. Coming from Parkmore, you’re going to have four lanes, and two bus lanes and a cycle lane. I’m very happy with the drawings.

“I’ll be looking for these negotiations to conclude as quickly as possible. I don’t want the negotiations to drag on. I will be looking for a speedy agreement so that the project can proceed as soon as is possible. But if we don’t get agreement we will have to go quickly for a CPO,” said Deputy Grealish.

Funding of €7 million has been pledged by Government for the new layout, which planners say will alleviate the continuing traffic hold-ups experienced by up to 10,000-people employed at Parkmore in going to and from work.

During the meeting, City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath explained that 80% of the motorists using Parkmore commute from North and east of the county.

Despite this, just one TD from Galway East or Roscommon Galway constituencies attended the meeting. That was Minister of State Sean Canney, while all five Galway West TDs were there including Deputy Grealish, Hildegarde Naughton (FG), Junior Minister Seán Kyne (FG), Éamon Ó Cuív (FF) and Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Minister Canney called on both Galway City and County Councils to explore the possibility of using Galway Airport as a base for a Park and Ride, as another tool to tackle congestion to Parkmore. He said P&R from Carnmore could be viable if bus lanes were provided along the Monivea Road.

Oireachtas members poured cold water on a suggestion by Council officials that a site near Lidl in Doughiska could be purchased to provide a parking lot for Park and Ride facilities.

Deputies argued the site was zoned residential, would be costly and too small for a P&R.

In its indicative timeframe for the Parkmore junction, planners told TDs they expect to have the planning process approved in September of this year. It indicates the detailed design could be ready by May 2018, with construction beginning in August 2018 and completed in April 2019.

Deputy Grealish believed if agreement can be reached without having to CPO land, then it will be done far sooner.