By Declan Tierney
Motorists travelling between Tuam and Galway during the months of October and November are going to be at their wits end as they will encounter three sets of works that are to set to cause major disruption.
In addition to the digging of the roads that is taking place in Tuam and the urgent resurfacing works the Galway side of Claregalway, the bridge at Claregalway is set to be closed in mid October as Galway County Council carry out flood relief measures at this location.
While a temporary bridge will be provided to one side of the existing bridge, the closure of the main artery through Claregalway is certain to added to the delays travelling between Tuam and Galway.
The flood alleviation works could take up to six weeks to complete which means that the temporary bridge – similar to the one used when the bridge at Leenane was swept away – will be in operation for that period.
The County Council are planning to provide a flood eye at the bridge which means they will be adding an additional channel on one side of the river to allow backed up flood water flow under the bridge and on to Lough Corrib more easily.
Director of Services for Roads and Transportation, Frank Gilmore said that works would commence in the middle of October and take possibly four to six weeks to complete.
Mr. Gilmore accepted that the closure of the bridge and the provision of a temporary bridge would lead to some delays at this location but that it was a better than closing off the N17 to traffic and using diversions.
There were fears, when the works on the bridge were first announced, that the roads in the Corrandulla, Cregmore and Carnmore areas would become official rat runs for motorists.
According to Mr. Gilmore, the works are vital and would eliminate the threat of flooding to houses in the areas where the River Clare burst its banks last November.
Once the water levels rise, the new channel will then kick into operation and ensure that the threat of flooding from the river is minimised.
It will provide relief not only for Claregalway and surrounding areas but also the communities of Abbeyknockmoy and Corofin which will benefit from the flood relief measures.
The temporary bridge in Claregalway will take two way traffic while an access road to the bridge will have to be constructed from either side of the river.
All of this means that motorists travelling from North Galway through Tuam and Claregalway are in for major delays on their journey and residents living on the rat runs will have to brace themselves of additional traffic in their areas.