Lack of vision choking city with traffic

Increasing  traffic volumes in the city – estimated to be up by 10% so far this year – is impeding Galway’s growth and investment, according to a leading local business representative.

Dr. Chris Coughlan, Chair of the Galway Chamber Traffic and Transportation Committee, has hit out at the ‘lack of investment and vision’ by national transport planners that has led to a gridlocked city on a daily basis.

He has now called on all the planning agencies involved – both locally and nationally – to work together to put an investment and planning strategy in place, to deal with the city’s traffic problems.

“Survey after survey has shown that traffic – that neither needs nor wants to be in our city – must have a way of circumventing the urban area, thus reducing congestion and enabling the provision of bus lanes and cycle lanes,” said Dr. Coughlan.

He added that Galway Chamber had always said that while roads – or an orbital road – wouldn’t be the solution to all the traffic difficulties of the city, it would certainly be an integral part of any suite of solutions.

Dr. Coughlan said he was concerned after noting comments from the CEO of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), Michael Nolan, that good public transport – rather than new roads – were required to deal with the city’s traffic problems.

“This organisation should have been planning for the future and should be doing so now. The future growth and success of Galway is dependent on such planning. It is a lack of investment and overall vision that has brought Galway to a state of gridlock on a daily basis,” said Chris Coughlan.

Earlier this month, the Mayor of Galway, Cllr. Noel Larkin, told the Galway City Tribune that one of his concerns was – that if over the coming years, the money wasn’t drawn down for the city bypass – the funding could be reallocated to the Limerick/Cork motorway project.

“We badly need to free up the city from traffic that doesn’t need to go through the urban area – the bypass is a vital piece of the jigsaw in terms of our overall transport policy,” said Mayor Larkin.

The bypass – officially known as the Galway City Ring road – is currently on public display at both City and County Halls during normal office hours, up until December 2 next.

Around 40 homes will be impacted on by the 20km bypass that will start close to the end of the M6 Motorway on the east side of the city and link up with the R336 Coast Road about two kilometres west of Barna village.

The entire plan is to be submitted to An Bord Pleanala in the New Year with a decision from the planning body expected in the second half of 2017.