Posted by Declan Tierney, Connacht Tribune in News.

The long awaited Claregalway bypass will be ready to proceed to the compulsory purchase order stage by the end of this year with funding being sought for this process.

The route for the village bypass has been selected and its design is nearing completion as there are high hopes that the Department of Transport will provide funding for it to begin in 2012.

Almost €200,000 has been spent on the Claregalway project so far with consultants being appointed earlier in the year to select a route and bring it to the design stage—this process is now well advanced.

Even though there is less traffic going through the village compared to the boom times, it still remains one of the worst bottlenecks in the country.

It is now being confirmed that the project will be ready to go to the CPO process by the end of the year and it is hoped that funding will be provided to allow this proceed.

Galway West TD Noel Grealish said that there was every possibility that the Claregalway bypass could begin in 2013 and described it as a very worthwhile project.

“Even if the Gort–Tuam Motorway commences next year, it will take at least three years to complete while the necessity for a bypass around the village of Claregalway will never go away.

“While traffic through the village has reduced in recent years, it is still one of the main hotspots in the morning when it comes to traffic congestion. It is a vital piece of infrastructure”, Deputy Grealish added.

The bypass, which will rid Claregalway of around 90% of its current traffic, is expected to cost in the region of €15 million—which is around €10 milion cheaper than the projected cost five or six years ago.

When constructed, the bypass will commence at Kiniska on the Tuam side of Claregalway. It will then proceed through farmland before crossing the Clare River.

It will then skirt by the Claregalway Corporate Park, intersect the Claregalway to Oranmore road at a round-about before progressing through rural countryside until it eventually rejoins the N17 at Cregboy.

Residents and the business community have been demanding a bypass for the village for many years and are not convinced that the Gort to Tuam motorway will relieve a huge amount of traffic from Claregalway.

Deputy Grealish pointed out that motorists living on the Claregalway side of Tuam would continue to use the N17 as their main access to Galway even if the motorway was constructed.

“The previous Government suggested that the M17/M18 motorway would effectively become the Claregalway bypass but that suggestion was a joke. Without the provision of an inner relief road as planned, Claregalway will continue to be a bottleneck”, he added.