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TD: Claregalway bottleneck adding 10 hours per week to journeys

The county’s most infamous traffic bottleneck is costing commuters up to ten additional hours a week behind the wheel of their cars.

The logjam through Claregalway – for drivers using the old N17 from Tuam to Galway – returned this week as the schools re-opened, prompting renewed calls for progress on the €25 million Claregalway bypass.

Galway East TD Sean Canney said that irrespective of the M17/M18 motorway, the old road was still the main access to the city – and will remain so.

“Over the past week, I have heard horror stories from motorists about the tailbacks through Claregalway in both directions which means that the case for a bypass has still not diminished,” he said.

“There are motorists spending ten hours in their cars each week if they opt for Claregalway as their route from Tuam to Galway – as a lot do.

“However, all of the agencies with responsibility for this project are sitting on their hands despite a route having been identified years ago,” said Deputy Canney who has now tabled a Dáil query for the Minister for Transport.

He also said that Galway County Council should be driving this project and accused them of ignoring the project when the inner relief road was obviously a much-needed infrastructural requirement.

The Claregalway bypass has been in the ‘melting pot’ for more than 20 years and when the motorway was constructed several years ago, it was being hailed as the solution to the village’s traffic woes – but this has not been the case.

Over the past week since the schools returned, the traffic has ground to a halt at the Roscommon turn at Loughgeorge most mornings.

An evening funeral in the village added more than 40 minutes onto motorists’ journey through Claregalway – not helped by the repeated pressing of the pedestrian lights.

Earlier this year, Galway County Council was instructed by local councillors to write to the Department of Transport requesting Minister Eamon Ryan to proceed with the Claregalway Inner Relief Road.

Galway County Council has not confirmed that there was any response to this request. At the time, officials acknowledged that there was a need for a Claregalway bypass.

But Deputy Canney retorted: “Look, Galway County Council cannot sit on their hands forever on this project”.

The proposed route for the €25 million bypass from Kiniska on the Tuam side to Cregboy on the Galway side has been frozen and cannot be developed on – leaving local landowners frustrated and in a state of confusion.

What has angered locals is the fact that planning has been refused to carry out any agricultural developments on lands adjacent to the proposed route.

This is on the grounds that it has been earmarked for a bypass, despite the fact that there is little appetite for the project at national level.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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