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No speeding-up of Tuam bypass construction

Declan Tierney



The current traffic congestion in Tuam will not still not see any early opening of the bypass of the town ahead of the motorway which is currently under construction.

From early afternoon there are now lengthy tailbacks on the N17 approaching Tuam from the Galway direction and these get progressively worse towards evening.

There have been calls from members of the business community for the Tuam bypass to be fast-tracked ahead for the motorway which is not due to be opened until early 2018.

The tail-backs are now being experienced every evening but they are particularly chronic on Friday evenings when there could be traffic backed up four miles from the town.

But Deputy Sean Canney has been informed by the National Roads Authority – now the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) – that to open the Tuam bypass earlier than planned would incur additional costs.

A bypass for Tuam was mooted as far back as 2006 but it was put on the ‘long finger’ and then became part of the €550 million Gort to Tuam motorway which is currently under construction.

Deputy Canney has now come up with an alternative suggestion to the traffic woes in Tuam and that this would cost a mere €30,000.

There are three sets of traffic lights within a half mile distance through Tuam with the lights at the Weir Road junction causing the biggest problem for motorists coming from the Galway direction.

The independent TD said that he had investigated a mechanism by which the three sets of lights could be synchronised in such a way that they would allow the free flow of traffic along the N17 through the town.

He said that he has now suggested this to the TII and has pointed out that even when the motorway is provided, the situation with traffic lights through Tuam needs to be addressed.

“It is an absolute disaster at the moment and it is not just the construction of the motorway that is causing the problem. The traffic lights through the town are an absolute disgrace and something needs to be done.

“There are times, even at 3pm of 4pm in the afternoon, there is a tailback coming into Tuam and motorists are getting so frustrated that they are contacting every public representative that they can.

“Irrespective of the motorway being provided in two years time, there needs to be some synchronisation of the lights and I have put a suggestion to the TII and I am awaiting a response,” Deputy Canney added.

The motorway and Tuam bypass are both due to be completed in early 2018 with motorists travelling through the town not looking forward to the traffic nightmare that could continue to exist until then.


Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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