A fresh attempt is to be made to deal with traffic backlog at the Kirwan Roundabout at the Menlo Park Hotel.
Six options to change the five arm roundabout into a traffic light controlled junction are to be put forward for public consultation later this month.
Monday night’s meeting of Galway City Council heard that construction costs for the project are estimated at €1.2 million and will depend on the option chosen. The project will be funded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
Over 40,000 vehicles use the junction between 7am and 7pm every day, while over 1,000 pedestrians cross the junction between the same hours each day. Seventy-seven per cent of the traffic is coming from national roads while 23 per cent are arriving at the roundabout from local roads.
Council senior engineer Uinsionn Finn and Darragh Delaney from Halcrow Barry Consultants outlined that the volume of traffic coming to the roundabout at peak times has seen a significant increase in ‘rat running’ through residential and commercial areas. The meeting also heard that there are poor pedestrian and cycle facilities at the roundabout presently.
One of the options being put forward is a five arm signalised junction. Mr Delaney outlined that would be a unique situation on a main route. This route would have the lowest cost but he said that a five arm signalised junction will result in increased queuing when compared to a four arm junction.
Another option includes a one-way link road to the Liosban Industrial Estate and Sandy Road and a crossing over Terryland River, a four-arm junction on the N84 and three-arm signalised junction on the N6.
Another includes the construction of a new link road to Liosban with a three arm signalised junction on the N6 and a four arm signalised junction on the N84.
Four of the options involve a change of land use.
All six options will be presented in detail at a public consultation in Ballinfoile Community Centre on Wednesday 25 January from 3pm to 8pm. Following the public consultation along with studies of traffic, environmental and engineering issues, the preferred route will emerge, and will be presented to Galway City Council at their April meeting. It is hoped that it will then go through the planning phase and onto design, tender and construction in 2018.
Councillor Donal Lyons expressed his satisfaction that a five arm signalised junction was one of those considered. “It was completely ruled out last time,” he said.
Councillor Mike Crowe stated that he wouldn’t support a five armed junction. “I don’t know how that would work. The maximum should be a four arm.”
Councillor Colette Connolly said she avoids this junction “like the plague”. “This met with significant opposition last time it came up and all hell broke loose,” she added. She was not in favour of a five arm signalised junction. She added, “We can’t meet the needs of everyone and we need to make a decision on it.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Mark Lohan said he was disappointed that the tunnel option, as seen in other EU cities, was not included in the final six options but understood it would carry a significant cost.
Several councillors spoke of how doing nothing was not an option. Also, most were not in favour of tampering with the Terryland Forest Park.
Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council said that the project was a priority as the roundabout is currently operating at 137 per cent capacity.
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