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Unanimous support for new Wolfe Tone Bridge walkway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Unanimous support for new Wolfe Tone Bridge walkway Unanimous support for new Wolfe Tone Bridge walkway

From the Galway City Tribune – Councillors have given the go-ahead for a cantilever walkway along the Claddagh side of Wolfe Tone Bridge – similar to that already in place on the far side of the bridge.

At a meeting of the local authority, city councillors unanimously approved a ‘Part 8’ planning application (where the councillors themselves must decide on whether to grant permission) for the 50-metre steel structure which seeks to improve pedestrian connectivity.

Councillors heard that an ecology and environmental assessment had been carried out, given the Corrib’s location in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and as Wolfe Tone Bridge was a protected structure, an archaeological report had also been carried out.

The project is fully funded by the National Transport Authority, with a team set to be appointed in quarter four of this year to complete detailed designs.

The Transport Department intends to appoint a contractor in quarter three of 2023, with the works to commence early in 2024.

Cllr Mike Crowe (FF) raised some concerns about how long it would take to get contractors on site, asking “is there any way we can tighten that timeline?”

Cllr Níall McNelis sought clarity that the proposals would tie into plans for the ‘cultural quarter’ currently in the works for the Spanish Parade area.

Senior Engineer Uinsinn Finn said the works would be taking place in a sensitive area within the SAC and said that the presence of seals and bats in the area meant there were only particular times of the year during which works could be carried out.

“One of the possible implications of the new bridge is that it will make under the bridge darker, which is an improvement for the bats,” he said.

A number of councillors, including Cllr Niall Murphy (Green) and Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) took issue with the planned installation of a traffic-light controlled pedestrian crossing at the Spanish Arch side of the bridge.

Cllr Murphy proposed that a zebra crossing would be more suitable while Cllr Lyons said any traffic lights installed in the area would have to be synchronised with the crossing already in place between Spanish Parade and the bottom of Quay Street.

“I’m not happy regarding the sequencing of the pedestrian crossings. To my mind, there is far less than 100 metres between them and if you’ve a green light on one, and a red light on the other, you’re just stalling traffic,” said Cllr Lyons.

Mr Finn said the crossings were 55 metres apart but said they would be proposing changes to the existing crossing at a later date, as part of the overall plan for Spanish Parade.

The project, according to the Council, will reduce conflict between vehicles and pedestrians and improve accessibility for everyone, including people with disabilities.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, September 16. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

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