Consultants have made major revisions to the design of the Galway City Outer Bypass project – including the shortening of the two tunnels – and it is now expected to be completed in 2024, subject to planning permission.
Hard shoulders and a concrete central median have also been added to the design – which sees an upgrade from dual carriageway status to an ‘urban motorway’.
A see-through glass noise barrier will be erected at the new bridge across the Corrib, along the NUI Galway lands and on to the N59.
And city councillors were told this week that the major road scheme, which is formally known as the ‘N6 Galway City Ring Road’, has been costed at €593m.
Eileen McCarthy, Associate Director of Arup – the consultants charged with designing the 16km route – made a presentation to the City Council this week and said the project is expected to be ‘shovel ready’ in 2021 and would open in 2024 if it receives planning approval.
She said that since councillors were last updated on the project in June 2015, various design changes have been made – the 16km roadway was originally planned as a ‘Type 2 dual carriageway’ (two lanes in each direction separated by steel ‘rope’).
However, she said, this was no longer deemed suitable for the project, and the design has been changed to an ‘urban motorway’, which will include 2.5m wide hard shoulders, and a solid concrete median barrier.
The results of geotechnical investigations on lands means that the Galway Racecourse tunnel – originally planned to be 840 metres long – has been reduced to 230m through realignment, while the ‘Lackagh tunnel’ (named after its launchpad at the Lackagh Quarries site) has been reduced from 530m to 240m.
“Tunnels are very, very expensive . . . in terms of construction, long-term maintenance and meeting new tunnel standards,” she said.
For more on the consultants’ presentation and the revisions to the plans, see this week’s Galway City Tribune