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Connacht Tribune

WATCH: Simulation of traffic flow on proposed Kirwan junction

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Galway City Council has selected a preferred option for the removal of the Menlo Park roundabout – it will be replaced by a four-arm signalised junction.

The redesign will also see the Coolough Road diverted onto the N84 Headford Road, and the creation of a new slip road from the junction to enter Coolough/Menlo.

A simulation of morning peak traffic flow in 2019 at the proposed new Kirwan junction. The video begins at the Bodkin (Galway Shopping Centre) junction, and moves along the N6 Headford Road to the Kirwan (Menlo Park) junction. The top of the screen is North.

Officials believe that if the final design is approved, the new €1.2 million junction could be up-and-running in 2019 – councillors were warned that funding is available for the project, but it is a case of “use it or lose it”.

According to consultants, the average delays will be reduced by 25%, while the junction capacity will increase by 15% – officials also predict a 90% reduction in rat-running through Tirellan.

At a meeting in City Hall this week, councillors were presented with an analysis of six options for the replacement of the roundabout, and the emerging preferred option proposed by consultants Halcrow Barry.

City councillors voted 9-7 in favour of accepting the design choice – a detailed scheme will be drawn up and will go on public display later this year.

Project Manager Daragh Delaney of Halcrow Barry consultants told the meeting that around 40,000 vehicles pass through what is officially known as the Kirwan roundabout between 7am and 7pm each day.

The poor pedestrian and cycle facilities in the existing layout were also highlighted – a survey recorded 1,000 pedestrians between 7am and 7pm, a figure which the consultants believe is supressed because of the safety issues.

Uinsinn Finn, the Council’s Senior Engineer, said the local authority would always try to acquire land by negotiation, and until the emerging preferred route was decided on, landowners would not be approached.

Following queries, Mr Delaney said the option of an overpass could not be considered because of the cost involved, as well as the impact it would have on private residences, as well as the likes of Motorpark, the Maldron Hotel and Sweeney Oil, as it would require a much larger footprint.

Mr Finn added that flyovers would only really be considered where the junction was handling more than 90,000 vehicles per day.

Tom Connell, Director of Services for Transport, said the team charged with drawing up redesign plans was totally new and were looking at the scheme from anew.

Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said he met with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the National Transport Authority last week, and was effectively told to get the job done by 2019 or the local authority will have to fund the project itself.

“Doing nothing is not an option. Watching this city and a junction grind to a halt is not an option. The junction is operating way beyond its design capacity. In 2024 it will be at a complete standstill. TII will not keep funding open. We are in a use it or lost it situation,” he said.

Initially, engineers drew up 14 options for the new junction, and subsequently a shortlist of six.

The six ‘finalists’ were then analysed using criteria including accessibility and social inclusion; integration; physical activity; environment; safety and economy.

The options were:
■ A five armed signalised junction without any changes to the current roundabout exits;
■ A four-arm signalised junction and a link from Bothar na dTreabh (inbound) to Liosbán and Sandy Road using a ‘left in/left out’ system;
■ A four-arm signalised junction and link road parallel to Bothar na dTreabh and Sandy Road with a ‘left out’ only system;
■ A four-arm signalised junction and a link road through the Nox Hotel to Bothar na dTreabh with a ‘left in/left out’ system.
■ A four-arm signalised junction with the Coolagh Road diverted to the Headford Road opposite Dunnes tores.
■ The option selected by councillors.

Mr Delaney said that the preferred option scored second best after Option 1 in terms of environmental impact; scored very similarly to other options in terms of safety assessments; had the best benefit-to-cost ratio and provided the greatest benefit to traffic delays.

It is now the Council’s intention to produce a more detailed preliminary design and put it out on public display, at the same time, a variation will have to be approved to the City Development Plan.

If it gets the final go-ahead, the project will go for design, tender and construction in 2018, with completion in 2019.

Connacht Tribune

Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash

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A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.

Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.

The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.

The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.

The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.

Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them. 

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Connacht Tribune

Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra

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Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Gardaí: ‘Stay at home during Storm Barra’

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Gardaí in Galway have warned people to stay home tomorrow (Tuesday) as Met Éireann forecasted a ‘risk to life’ ahead of Storm Barra’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council was preparing for the ‘high probability’ of coastal flooding.

A combination of tomorrow’s high tides with the forecast high winds and heavy rainfall would likely lead to a flooding event, he said.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the best advice available was to stay at home but refused to comment on school closures – advising that was a matter for the Department of Education.

Mr McGrath said a number of meetings between local and national agencies had already taken place, with more set to run throughout the day as preparations got underway for this winter’s first severe weather event.

“High tide is at 6.45am tomorrow morning and at 7.20pm tomorrow evening. There is currently a Red Marine Warning in place for the sea area that includes Galway and an Orange Storm Warning for Storm Barra for 6am Tuesday morning to 6am on Wednesday morning,” said Mr McGrath, adding that it was possible this storm warning could be raised to Red later today.

With high tide at 5.45 metres and a forecast storm surge of 1.05m, the risk of flooding was significant. In addition, winds were currently forecast to be South-West to West, said Mr McGrath, conducive to a flooding event in the city.

“It is potentially problematic . . . the hope would be that the storm surge doesn’t happen at the same time as high tide,” he added.

The flood protection barrier had been installed at Spanish Arch over the weekend and storm gullies had been cleaned. Sandbags were to be distributed throughout the day, said Mr McGrath.

Council staff would be on duty throughout the weather event and Gardaí would be operating rolling road closures from early morning. Carparks in Salthill were closed today, while tow trucks were on standby to remove any vehicles not moved by their owners before the high-risk period.

Chief Supt Curley said it was imperative people stayed home where possible.

The best way to say safe was to “leave the bicycle or the car in the driveway” from early tomorrow morning, and to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.

Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said.

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