Motorway opening sees 25% traffic increase on rural road

Councillor Pete Roche, resident Pascal Mannion and Councillor Donagh Killilea at a meeting in Kilbannon to discuss the traffic increase following the motorway opening. Photo: Johnny Ryan Photography.

The opening of the new Gort to Tuam motorway has resulted in a traffic increase of more than 25% on a minor road leading to the North Galway town.

Figures revealed by Galway County Council indicate that traffic on the Kilbannon road leading into Tuam has increased significantly – and even more worrying is the number of heavy goods vehicles using the route.

And Cllr Donagh Killilea has now been informed that Galway County Council will submit an application to the Department of Transport for a major road realignment project in the area in the light of these figures.

A considerable amount of ‘Mayo traffic’ are now using the R332 to access the new motorway as a means of getting to Dublin.

Prior to the motorway opening last September, Galway County Council conducted a traffic count over a twelve-day period which showed that around 10,000 vehicles passed through Kilbannon.

But then in November, two months after the Tuam bypass and motorway opening, a similar survey was conducted which revealed that the number of vehicles had increased to almost 13,500.

Cllr Killilea said that this is now a major source of concern for residents and been informed that another traffic count will take place over a further twelve-day period in September when the schools reopen.

The R332 is now taking the vast majority of South Mayo traffic which is accessing the new motorway just outside Tuam. Locals now say that they cannot walk or cycle the road over safety concerns.

A campaign has been launched to upgrade a one-kilometre section from Duddy’s pub to the GAA pitch which is extremely narrow and is governed by a solid white line.

The local residents want it widened to such an extent that pedestrians can step in to safety in the event of continuous traffic. With the current volume of traffic, it is deemed unsafe for walkers.

Locals were told that a senior engineer with Galway County Council Rachel Lowe would walk the road to view at first hand the volume of traffic and the potential risks there are for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

She walked the road and has now confirmed to Cllr Killilea that an application for funding of a full realignment of this stretch will now be made in September.

“The increase in the volume of traffic using this incredibly minor road is a very worrying development and particularly the amount of heavy goods vehicles that are now passing through this rural village is of major concern.

“But the fact that the Council are now making an application for funding for a total realignment is a reflection of the local campaign and an acceptance that this particular stretch needs to be made safer,” Cllr Killilea added.

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