Efforts to have the Tuam Bypass open in time for the Galway Races have been unsuccessful – after a senior roads official has stated that it will not be possible.
But Director of Services for Roads, Michael Timmins has urged councillors to put pressure on Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the main contractors of the Gort to Tuam motorway and Tuam bypass in the hope that these projects can be open earlier than is anticipated.
Members of Tuam Municipal Council this week said that even if the Tuam bypass could be open to facilitate race traffic, it would be a help and would prevent the expected log-jam in the North Galway town.
But they were informed that it is a matter for TII and Direct Route, the main contractors of the €550 million project, to sign off on and this has not happened yet. Mr Timmins said that it was the subject of a final safety audit.
“It won’t be open for the Races,” he confirmed. “But I am anxious that it does open as soon as possible and stay open”.
The matter was raised by Cllr Shaun Cunniffe who believed that the section of Tuam bypass, which will take traffic from the Milltown Road to the Galway Road, was completed and should be brought into use at certain times of the day during the Races.
“As far as I can see, it is long done and it would be an ideal time to open it up to traffic on a temporary basis. There has been no work on the bypass for weeks so we can only assume that it is ready to go. It could be used as a trial run”, Cllr Cunniffe said.
Fine Gael’s Cllr Tom McHugh agreed and said that it was as good as completed and that its opening would free up Tuam town during one of the busiest weeks in the year. “It is largely done from what I can see,” he added.
Meanwhile, Galway East TD Sean Canney says that he has been in consultation with both the contractors and Transport Infrastructure Ireland and he believes that it can be a possibility. “It would be great to have it available for the thousands coming to Galway,” he said.
“I understand that they are at an advanced stage in the construction and it would be a bonus for Galway if it could be opened to accommodate those attending the races. It would certainly take a lot of traffic out of the city centre and the Tuam to Galway N17,” he said.
The motorway is set to officially open in February 2018 but the contractors say that it will be open several months in advance of this but there is now speculation that it could facilitate traffic to the Galway Races in early August.
“The information I am receiving is that it is in an advanced stage of development and could be open for the Races. It is now a matter for the contractors and Transport Infrastructure Ireland. They have the final say.
“But I am led to believe that works are such that it could be open in time for the Races which would be great,” Deputy Canney stated.