The construction of the €500 million M17-M18 motorway between Gort and Tuam will play a “huge role” in the development of the region, according to Galway Chamber.
Welcoming the news that the contracts for the motorway are to be signed later this week, President of Galway Chamber, Jim Fennell said Galway had waited a long time for this “vital piece of infrastructure”, which the Department of Transport has previously confirmed will not be tolled.
“Along with the fifth bridge over the River Corrib and the Galway City Outer Bypass, this motorway has been a key part of Galway Chamber’s infrastructure lobbying priority for many years. Ease of access continues to be key to business and future development in the region. Not only will the construction boost employment, but the advent of the N17-N18 motorway between Gort and Tuam will encourage economic development in both Galway and the region into the future,” said Mr Fennell.
Independent TD Brian Walsh also welcomed the news, saying the long-awaited piece of infrastructure, which is due to open in 2017, would have a “major impact” on the county.
“In the short term, over 1,000 jobs are expected to be created during the three-year construction phase, which obviously represents a massive boost for the regional economy. In the longer term, the motorway will enhance connectivity in the Western region – reducing journey times between Galway and Shannon Airport – and will make the county an even more attractive location for investment and the creation of jobs,” said Deputy Walsh.
“The Gort-Tuam motorway will also help to alleviate traffic congestion in areas such as Claregalway, which has suffered for so long in the absence of this infrastructure,” he said.
However, Independent Councillor Jim Cuddy said that, while he welcomed the news, he did not believe it marked the end of traffic problems for Claregalway.
“It will certainly take some of the traffic from the village, but nothing like what we’d like to see. There’s been an even bigger increase in the volume of traffic since the introduction of the new secondary school,” said Cllr Cuddy.
“What we need is the relief road that was promised some years ago. There’s total dismay here in Claregalway that the minister should see fit to stop it going ahead this year, even though the project is practically ready to go. This is simply a case of the West being let down again,” he stressed.