Tuam motorway plaza plan withdrawn following traffic concerns

The site on the Dublin Road in Tuam for the proposed new service area.

Plans for a motorway services plaza to serve the new M17/18 and Tuam Bypass – backed by Supermac’s – have been withdrawn, following concerns raised by Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

TII said it is a “significant concern” that headlight glare from the services area could cause a traffic hazard for motorists on the new motorway.

Agents representing Pat McDonagh and Michael Mannion have now instructed Galway County Council to withdrawn the application which they lodged at the end of October.

The 3.5-acre site is at Farramartin, at what will be the new Kilmore roundabout, part of the new Tuam Bypass.

The plans included a drive-thru restaurant, carpark and coach parking spaces, as well as six fuel pumps and carwash area.

Internally, the plans included a large ground floor convenience retail area, off licence and foodcourt, with seating for around 100 people, while the first floor had seating for a further 150 people.

TII (formerly the National Roads Authority) said it is of the opinion that insufficient data was submitted with the application “to demonstrate that the proposed development will not have a detrimental impact on the capacity, safety or operational efficiency of the national road network in the vicinity of the site”.

“The Authority notes that the confined nature of the site appears to have had a significant impact on the site layout and vehicle access and circulation proposals. TII acknowledges that the application has undertaken a Road Safety Audit, but it is a significant concern that the applicant has proposed a vehicle circulation route that runs adjacent and parallel with the adjoining M17/18 Gort to Tuam Bypass scheme.

“It is noted that the audit specifically addresses this issue and identifies the potential conflict between cars travelling on the site circulation road and traffic on the M17/18 mainline. Although the recommendation of the RSA is that solid fencing should be erected between the carriageways, the audir appears to have concluded that dense planting will be provided along the boundary instead of a solid fence.

“It is not clear that this solution is acceptable to the Audit Team nor that the solution in itself will be sufficient to avoid headlight glare from vehicles in the site affecting drivers on the mainline and therefore causing a traffic hazard. This represents a significant safety concern,” the TII submission reads.

Gerry Gormally of the West Wing Restaurant objected to the application on the grounds of the impact on his business and other traders in the town; light pollution; traffic concerns; possible flooding and inconsistencies in the planning documents.

He described his business as “the life and sould of the existing n17teen Business Park”, with 30 staff working daily, 50 at weekends, and up to 70 for functions.

The residents of the Bealach na Gaoithe estate at Killaloonty voiced concerns that it would lead to road safety issues in the area because of an increase in the number of HGVs and increase in noise levels.

They also point out that the fast food restaurant and drive thru would be in close proximity to four housing estates, which they say is “at odds with the national policy for combatting obesity in Ireland”.

Businessman Sean Brett objected on the grounds that such a development would not be the best use for land which will become “an iconic focal point for entry into the environs of Tuam in the near future”.

“It is felt that a development which offers opportunities for a higher quality of architecture would be more suited to this location and be a benefit to the town of Tuam,” the objection reads.

It adds concerns about traffic management implications at the new Kilmore roundabout.

Requests to be kept informed of the progress of the application were submitted to the County Council by Chris Brogan – who is planning a similar development on his tractor sales site on the opposite side of the road, and from Topaz Energy Ltd.