Calls to replace Ballyglunin bridge in €8m road upgrade

Cllr Pete Roche at the old Ballyglunin Bridge (Photo: Jonny Ryan)

A major road-widening project – incorporating a cycle lane from the village of Abbeyknockmoy to Brooklodge along the N63 – is set to commence in the spring of next year.

And that has already led to demands that the iconic Ballyglunin Bridge be replaced as part of the scheme – given that the stonework on the bridge will have to be removed as part of the works.

However, Cllr Pete Roche said that he has made representations to Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) that the bridge be restored – although he admitted that it was doubtful if trains would ever run on it again.

The Fine Gael Councillor said that it was a major project for the area in that it involved a road widening initiative while a cycle lane would be provided from the village of Abbeyknockmoy to the new roundabout with the new motorway.

It will cost more than €8 million to complete the project with around one-third of this being allocated to a total of 64 land owners whose properties have been acquired through compulsory purchase orders.

The project will involve major road-widening between Abbeyknockmoy and Annagh Hill while and cycling and walking lanes will also be provided along the 3.2 kilometre stretch.

Land owners along the route will benefit financially as it is estimated that some 17 acres will be acquired in the process – this includes front gardens and farm buildings.

Cllr Roche said that than the road widening was essential and it would also make access onto the motorway more accessible.

The tender for improvement works on the N63 between Abbeyknockmoy and Annagh Hill has been advertised. Galway County Council has published the tender for the €8 million euro scheme which is expected to take about a year to complete.

The long-awaited improvement works will involve upgrading 3.2 kilometres of the existing single carriageway near Abbeyknockmoy. It will link the M17/M18 motorway junction at Annagh Hill with a section of the N63 which has been recently upgraded.

The works include, fencing, site clearance, traffic management, earthworks, drainage, pavement, signage, landscaping, kerbing and footway/cycleway construction.

“It means that hundreds of residents along the road can avail of the new facility and it is a great asset to the community. It is something that Abbeyknockmoy has been looking for.

“Obviously the railway bridge will have to be removed but we are looking for it to be replaced as part of the road widening project. We presume that there will be no problem in this regard,” Cllr Roche added.