Galway’s controversial ring road project is moving forward, with a final decision on the project estimated to be made in November 2019.
The development has been met with some criticisms due to the current plan of demolishing 44 homes for its completion. While city leadership recognizes the strain on some citizens, key officials say that the plan must move forward for good of the city and its economy.
“They are people’s homes, they fought hard, worked hard and saved up hard to get these houses but hopefully with proper consultations, working with them we will be able to find alternative accommodation and make sure that they are well compensated for that process,” said Mayor Niall McNelis.
The mayor said that he is 110% in support of the project, and reducing the number of cars in the city center will drastically improve traffic flow.
President of the Galway Chamber of Commerce David Hickey agreed with Mayor McNelis, saying that the Galway economy has suffered from the daily traffic issues in the city center and other congested areas.
“I’m aware of a number of instances where a company sought to expand their operations in Galway, but decided against it due to traffic issues,” he said. “The ring road will be the longer term solution to the issue.”
“There’s overwhelming support by local businesses for the ring road. We recognize the social impact, such as the compulsory purchasing orders for homes, is hugely damaging to people…but it is also damaging to people who are waiting hours in traffic to get out of Parkmore and get into the city.”
When asked if there was a chance that the ring road could act as a bypass to businesses in the city center, Mr Hickey said that, “Studies done have pointed to the road not acting as a bypass, but something that would make the city a more attractive place to visit because of less traffic congestion.”
Both Mayor McNelis and Mr Hickey are aware that the ring road will not be the only piece in the improving the transportation infrastructure of the city.
“The ring road won’t reduce car usage on its own, but bus lanes and improved pedestrian and cycling lanes will help as a whole,” said Mr Hickey.
“The Galway Transportation strategy includes bus carter, rail and cycle lanes and we’re doing all of those things together. We want to have more buses coming into the city,” said Mayor McNelis.
Indications point towards the ring road project moving forward, and public objections will be heard in July 2019.
The project, estimated to cost €600 million, is still under review and is open to public consultation until December 2019.