The decision was welcomed by minister for transport, tourism and sport Shane Ross, Galway County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII). Galway County Council will now submit the environmental impact assessment report, the natura impact statement, motorway scheme order and protected road scheme order for the scheme to the planning authority, An Bord Pleanála.
Ross said: “I am delighted to recommend that this vitally important ring road be advanced. The people of Galway have long awaited this decision and will benefit hugely from it. The project is a key component of the Galway Transport Strategy. It will provide a national road corridor around Galway city centre removing unnecessary through traffic and allow for the public transport network to function efficiently. This development will make public transport more attractive for daily commuters and crucially, it will make Galway roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.”
The purpose of the scheme is to reduce traffic congestion in Galway city, improve journey times and provide direct access from the new motorway to major employment centres at Parkmore and Ballybrit Business Parks. A further benefit of the new scheme is to free-up much road space in the city centre for improved public transport services, cycling and walking.
The proposed national road project comprises 12km of motorway/dual carriageway between the existing N6 at Coolagh (northeast of the city) and the existing Ballymoneen Road (northwest of the city), and will continue as a single carriageway road for 6km as far as the R336 Coast Road, west of Bearna. The ring road will include a new bridge crossing of the River Corrib as well as grade-separated junctions serving the N83, N84 and N59. Arup is consultant for the project.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland is the Funding Authority and the project has been included in the Government’s Infrastructure Capital Investment Plan 2016-2021 and the National Development Plan 2018.