‘Wrong way, turn back’ is a last-ditch sign we often see on motorways to indicate to motorists when they are about to go somewhere they shouldn’t and to urge them to take immediate action to rectify the situation before it’s too late.
It’s a call that has been made to council officials over the last couple of months, as their plans to replace roundabouts with signalised junctions were unveiled and pretty much universally lambasted by locals and city business people alike. However, calls to rethink or revise the plans have fallen on deaf ears and the council is now on the cusp of ploughing straight into oncoming traffic.
Already works underway in Newcastle and Westside are causing traffic mayhem in the city, as indicated by the traffic situation in the city on Monday. And the situation is likely to get much worse, as school children return to their classrooms next week.
Phase 1 of the Bothar na dTreabh (N6) Multi-Modal Corridor Improvement Scheme includes the refurbishment of the N6/N59 (Newcastle Road) junction to improve pedestrian and cycle facilities. This phase will also involve replacing the current traffic lights at the Newcastle end of the Quincentenary Bridge in order to integrate them with the Urban Traffic Management Centre (UTMC). The works will last approximately eight weeks, with ‘some delays’ experienced by motorists over the period of the works.
The plans don’t end there. Works on replacing the Lynch Roundabout at Briarhill with a signalised junction are expected to begin in early September and it will be then that the real fun will begin.
The imminent traffic problems aside, the council has rejected calls from Galway Chamber to assess the success of the Lynch Roundabout removal before proceeding with further roundabout conversions. The council has said that it is imperative it proceeds with both proposals in tandem, as to proceed in an incremental fashion would risk the availability of funding for the entire scheme and dilute the beneficial impact of having all junctions upgraded within a relatively short period prior to the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Galway in July 2012.
All of which means that the city will more than likely grind to a halt over the next few months, frustrating business at a time the city can ill-afford same. And for what? In common with other areas of the public sector, the council seems to be putting the securing of funding ahead of the well being of the city.