One of the busiest roads in the county is set for a further upgrade as part of a €5 million investment on the main N63 Galway to Roscommon route.
Works are nearing completion on a three-mile stretch from Annagh Hill to Abbeyknockmoy – but it now has been confirmed that Transport Infrastructure Ireland will fund further road widening on the other side of Abbeyknockmoy on a one-mile section towards Moylough.
And, significantly, these works will involve the construction of a new bridge over the Abbert River which will take the existing right-angled bridge out of commission. The €5 million project is expected to go to planning in early 2019.
When the works are completed it will not alone provide an extension to the cycle path which is currently being construct as part of the ongoing works, but it will also give ease of access to the local church, primary school, community centre, creche and playground.
Members and officials of Galway County Council met with senior representatives from Transport Infrastructure Ireland who informed them that they are willing to support another phase of the N63 improvement scheme.
During the course of 2017 works began on the three-mile stretch which involved a major road-widening project as well as the provision of a cycle lane all the way into the village.
These works have caused almost a year of traffic disruption on the N63 but it is expected that the contractors will move off site possibly by the summer when the €8.5 million project is completed.
There are a lot of works still to be carried out and there are still ongoing discussions with some of the 64 property owners who were affected by the scheme.
According to Cllr Pete Roche, when these works are completed Galway County Council can then submit a proposal to TII for a major road-widening project on the other side of Abbeyknockmoy Village and this will involve bypassing the extremely narrow and dangerous Newtown Bridge.
“When we met with officials from TII, they were very conscious of the need to carry out further improvement works on the N63 but made it quite clear that the ball is firmly in Galway County Council’s court.
“Transport Infrastructure Ireland stated categorically that they were willing to fund this particular stretch as well and it will involve the provision of a new bridge over the Abbert River – something that we have been demanding for years,” Cllr Roche added.
The Fine Gael councillor said that once the current works are completed in a matter of months, then the onus was on Galway County Council’s engineers to draft a proposal for the one-mile section on the Moylough side of Abbeyknockmoy Village.
He said that if it went to planning in 2019, then there was every possibility of works commencing on this stretch the following year. “To be quite honest, the support that was forthcoming from the TII officials we met came as something of a surprise to me,” Cllr Roche remarked.