€550-million motorway will not be opened in sections

The Rathmorrissey Interchange under construction ... where the M17/M18 Gort-Tuam Motorway will meet the M6 Galway-Dublin Motorway

The new Gort-to-Tuam motorway is on schedule to be completed, as planned, in early 2018 and the 57-kilometre project will be opened at the one time.

A spokesman for the contractors told the Connacht Tribune that they were on schedule for the completion of the motorway around this time in two years time.

However, the contractors have ruled out any possibility of the Tuam bypass being opened ahead of schedule – motorists had been hoping that this part of the scheme would have been fast-tracked.

The €550-million motorway is steadily progressing despite local opposition to a road closure at Cartymore on the main Monivea to Galway road to facilitate the construction of a bridge.

Locals and business interests lost their battle to prevent the road closure which has now taken effect and will remain in place until April 11. Lengthy diversions are in place.

Declan Carney of Sisk, who are one of the three main contractors involved in the project along with Lagan and Roadbridge, said that the objections at Cartymore had not held up the project and that works overall were progressing as planned.

There was huge local opposition to the road closure from local residents and businesses – Galway County Council received about 500 submissions opposing the temporary move.

As well as the submissions, up to 50 residents and business owners last month protested at Cartymore Cross, Cashla prior to the decision being made. There was a significant Garda presence at the protest.

Meanwhile, Mr Carney added: “Our contract with the road authority is straightforward in terms of completion. The full scheme including the Tuam bypass opens at the same time. There is no phased opening and the works throughout the project are scheduled out accordingly”.

It is a huge infrastructural undertaking and it is not surprising that there has been some criticism of the construction process, particularly from land owners in South Galway.

Farmers in the area say that the construction of the motorway has displaced water and has been a contributing factor in the severe flooding that occurred in the area over the winter. The flood waters still remain very high for the time of year.

But there had been hopes that the Tuam bypass – a project that was first mooted way back in 2006 – might have been prioritised, as there are daily tailbacks on either side of the town, but this will not be the case.