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Galway City Ring Road has cost more than €21 million to date

It could be anything from eight to ten years before the planned ring road around Galway City is opened to traffic.

That’s the warning this week from Galway West TD Noel Grealish — based on information he has received from Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

TII have also confirmed in a letter to the Independent Deputy that the amount of money spent so far on planning a route to solve the city’s traffic gridlock problems has risen to €35 million.

Planning and design of the current N6 Galway City Ring Road scheme has cost €21.3m to date, while the previous bypass proposal, which was abandoned nine years ago, had run up bills totalling €14.7m.

But Deputy Grealish said he was particularly concerned that the current timescale for the giant project could mean several more years of waiting in limbo for the 54 families whose houses are due to be demolished or acquired to make way for the new road.

Three groups have sought Judicial Reviews in the High Court of the decision by An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for the development last December. The proceedings are next down for mention in the High Court on October 17.

“There is no way of telling how long this process will take, but Transport Infrastructure Ireland have pointed out in their letter to me that recent challenges to other national road schemes had delayed progress by up to two years, while the legal challenge to the previous Galway City Outer Bypass scheme took about four and a half years to reach a final conclusion,” he said.

“According to TII, it will take about two years after that to prepare the design and tender documents and procure a contractor. Then construction would take about four years. That could be even longer if the scheme is delivered in stages.

“That means that it could be anything from eight to ten years before the road will be completed — which is an awful long time for hard-pressed motorists to wait for some relief from the traffic problems that has dogged Galway roads for decades at this stage.

“But it also means that those families whose houses are to be demolished to make way for the new road are facing a very long wait before their houses are bought out and they can move on with the rest of their lives.

“They have been living in a horrible limbo situation for years and years already, unable to sell their homes and with no point in spending much money on improving and maintaining their homes if they are going to be knocked down,” added Deputy Grealish.

The Galway West TD said he would continue to seek commitments from the Government that immediately the legal challenges currently before the courts were settled, the owners of the 54 houses would get clarity and certainty about their future, without any further delay.

Writing to Deputy Grealish in reply to Parliamentary Questions tabled on the issue, TII’s Head of Regulatory and Administration, Michael Kennedy, said that the most recent total budget for the scheme was just under €600m, which was prepared for the Preliminary Business Case in 2016.

“Obviously the actual costs will be many, many millions more than that … probably about €1 billion, and those costs will continue to rise the longer we have to wait for work to start,” Deputy Grealish pointed out.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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