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Connacht Tribune

CONFIRMED: Map of the new Galway Bypass

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Up to 400 home and landowners along the route for the new city bypass will receive letters in the post today informing them they live along the ‘emerging preferred corridor’ for the scheme – which has been touted as the solution to Galway’s traffic woes.

While hundreds will receive letters, the route will affect 41 homes along the route (while a further 10 will have an option to ‘sell up’) which includes a tunnel running from Coolagh near the end of the M6 motorway to the entrance of Galway Racecourse.

You can download a high resolution PDF here of the Bypass map

Details of the route were exclusively revealed on our website last Saturday morning.

Details published by a national newspaper on the same day were incorrect and caused much concern amongst homeowners who incorrectly believed their properties were at risk.

The selected route is not specifically one of the existing six ‘coloured’ routes which were previously published, although it does incorporate significant parts of the blue route.

The three main areas affected in terms of homeowners will be on the city side of Castlegar, on the N84 (near Clada Minerals) and at the Dangan/Circular Road.

At the end of the Dublin motorway at Coolagh, new junction arrangements will be put in place, and a tunnel will run from two derelict houses at Briarhill to Racecourse Road (commonly referred to as ‘the avenue’).

It’s understood a number of stables at the Racecourse will have to be demolished, but the course itself will be unaffected.

The tunnel runs to ‘the avenue’ (where Brooks and a number of other businesses are based), before going above ground again for a run down the hill behind the Racecourse (adjacent to the An Post depot) and across to the N84 near Clada Minerals.

That will be a ‘cut and cover’ tunnel, where the ground will be excavated, and pre-cast concrete beams laid, allowing the roadway to be reinstated overhead.

A second small tunnel will be built through the Menlo area – to avoid limitations imposes by the EU Habitats’ Directive on protected limestone in the area, part of the problem with the original Galway City Outer Bypass route.

A fifth bridge across the Corrib will be built, and the route then runs through NUI Galway lands at Dangan, through a point on the Dangan side of Bushypark (near Circular Road) and to a point west of Barna.

The route does not traverse the existing Sportsground at NUIG, but will be through a green area close to a GAA pitch.

However, the route corridor chosen is 150 metres wide, and this will have to be narrowed to an actual route of 25 to 50 metres wide, and it’s understood there has been some flexibility built into its journey through NUIG lands and at Barna.

It ties into the exisiting R336 at a roundabout junction approx 2km to the west of Barna village and then proceeds towards Letteragh.

Roundabouts are also proposed at the Barna to Moycullen road and at the Ballymoneen Road which provides connectivity to Knocknacarra.

Letters to landowners were posted yesterday and are expected to be delivered to between 300 and 400 home, land and business owners today, and a briefing will take place for local councillors this morning.

Those affected will then be invited to consultations with the designers Arup and the National Road Design Office over the coming fortnight, before the route open up to a wider public consultation process.

The route will then be narrowed down to a corridor of up to 50m wide, before it can be progressed to final design and Compulsory Purchase Order process.

It is expected to cost in the region of €600 million.

PDF of the bypass map

Connacht Tribune

State to look at plan to protect historic monastic ruins

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Officials from the Office of Public Works have confirmed that they will visit what is widely regarded as the most complete Franciscan monastic ruins in Ireland to see what works are required to save it.

And a local public representative has said that he does not want to be part of a generation that allowed Ross Errilly Franciscan Friary to fall into worse disrepair.

Correspondence sent this week to those who diligently look after the friary has suggested that the OPW’s Head of Historic Properties will come down to establish what emergency works are required.

This follows the recent visit by the Minister for the Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan to Ross Errilly Franciscan Friary which dates well back before the 1400s and requires urgent works to be carried out.

Cllr Andrew Reddington (FG) said: “It would be an absolute disgrace if we were the generation that allowed this friary to deteriorate even further.”

It was explained to the Minister while visiting the Abbey that it is in desperate need of emergency works and it was essential that the Minister brought this back to his department.

He was informed that it was around the late 1980s when there was any major works carried out on the abbey by the OPW.

“The abbey needs remedial work urgently as it is falling into disrepair and the main area of concern is the tower.

“There has never been any serious remedial work done on the tower and there has never been scaffolding put up around the outside of it to deal with the exterior of the tower,” Cllr Reddington told The Connacht Tribune.

A local group who met with the Minister explained that there is no electricity at the abbey or any toilet facilities for visiting tourists.

He was informed that the nearest electrical pole is only 200m away, so it wouldn’t be difficult to get electricity to the abbey.

The abbey, he was told, needs electricity which would then mean there would be options in terms of security lighting and closed-circuit television to prevent any vandalism taking place.

Those who look after the Franciscan Friary – including Glen Corbett and former Galway footballer Seamus McHugh – gave a detailed run down of emergency works that need to happen at the abbey.

They said that it was critical that emergency works start as soon as possible to protect the abbey for future generations.

The Minister committed to working with the group on this. The delegation than joined OPW officials and Finna Construction who gave them a tour of the OPW offices in Headford which benefited from a €5 million investment.

This week came the commitment that the OPW would visit the friary to establish the emergency works that need to prioritisation.

(Photo:  Seamus McHugh, Minister Patrick O’Donovan, Glen Corbett and Cllr Andrew Reddington at Ross Errilly Franciscian Friary in Headford)

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Connacht Tribune

Gardaí issue alert over fuel thefts

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Householders, farmers and truckers in the West of Ireland have been advised to put security measures in place to protect their fuel tanks, following a number of thefts over the past month.

While the thefts aren’t an everyday occurrence, Gardaí have advised that with fuel prices likely to remain high over the coming months, basic security precautions should be put in place.

Galway is one of a number of counties where fuel thefts have occurred over recent weeks with home heating oil, trucks and farm diesel in different parts of the country targeted by the thieves.

Sergeant Michael Walsh, Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, said that while the number of thefts reported in Galway had been quite small, fuel thievery was still an ongoing problem.

He said that some of the precautions recommended included a secure fencing off, of outdoor fuel tanks with good quality perimeter fencing.

“Fuel tanks that are located away from houses or offices are most at risk and in these situations, robust perimeter fencing, and gates need to be properly secured.

“We are also recommending that people and businesses consider installing alarms, anti-siphoning devices, security lighting and CCTV cameras,” said Sergeant Walsh.

He added that fuel thieves often used small drill and syphoning pump to steal the fuel with the whole operation completed in a matter of minutes.

Last month in Limerick, thieves stole an estimated €500 worth of diesel from trucks parked overnight in a business park – large trucks and artics can have a fuel capacity of over 100 gallons.

“As with a lot of robberies, fuel thieves will tend to pick out the opportunist targets. Fuel is a valuable commodity and basic security measures need to be put in place,” said Sergeant Walsh.

Where businesses have multiple users of their fuel tanks, the Gardaí also advise that a fuel management system should be put in place to record the users as well as the dates and times when they access the supply.

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Connacht Tribune

Housing plan turned down over lack of pedestrian access

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The lack of a pedestrian connection to the town centre was listed as one of the reasons why a development of almost 40 houses has been turned down in Ballinasloe.

The proposed development at Poolboy would have been adjacent to an existing housing estate – but planners cited the lack of connectivity to the town centre as a reason why it was refusing the application.

The plans outlined the provision of a mix of three-bedroom detached and semi-detached houses along with 20 townhouses as part of the 38 unit development.

They were submitted by Crownbell Limited, which is based in Clarinbridge, and sought a connection to the existing access road serving the Cuil na Canalacht estate which was granted permission back in 2012.

However, Galway County Council refused planning on the grounds that the proposed development did not provide sufficient pedestrian access to the wider urban area of Ballinasloe.

They said that to grant planning would pose an intensified risk to the safety of pedestrians and other road users and lead to “unsustainable mobility patterns” in the immediate area.

It was stated that the development would be prejudicial to public safety and contravene the sustainable transport policy objectives of the Galway County Development Plan.

Furthermore, planners said that the site was in an area that is zoned open space recreation and amenity in the Ballinasloe Local Area Plan.

They said that this seeks to protect and enhance such areas for exercise facilities, sports grounds and playing fields and to grant planning would set an undesirable precedent.

Given the site’s location to the River Suck, the applicants submitted an environmental impact assessment and screening report. The development would be around 300 yards from the River Suck Callows.

It was proposed that the development would connect to the existing sewer scheme, and it was stated in a submission that it would not overly burden the system.

However, it was a lack of pedestrian access from the site into the town centre which eventually scuppered the proposed development plan.

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