Tuam’s new bypass, which is due to open in the Spring of 2018, will become the new southerly starting point for the N17, following the redesignation of a number of roads in the county.
The route, made famous by the Saw Doctors song of the same name in the late 1980s, will no longer stretch as far as Galway city, following the determination made by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to downgrade a number of roads once the new M17 motorway is opened.
Details of the changes were revealed at this week’s meeting of Tuam MDC, where Director of Services Liam Gavin outlined the reclassification of roads affected by the new motorway.
“The Department of Transport has regraded a number of national routes to regional road status, with the N17 going from a national primary to a national secondary route, as the road south of Tuam becomes the N83 as far as Galway city,” he said.
“The Tuam bypass will then become the starting point of the N17 from the roundabout that connects it with the motorway and continue past the town where it will connect with the existing northbound section of the road at Ardacong.
“Other roads affected include the N63 from Loughgeorge to Annagh Hill, which will become the R354 and the N18 from Claregalway to Cregmore that changes to the R381. Elsewhere in the county the N18 from Gort to Galway will be reclassified from Kilcolgan into the city as the N67, which is a national secondary route.
“None of these changes will come into effect until after the M17/Tuam bypass opens, which is scheduled for February 2018, but members need to be mindful that with the reduction of national primary routes there will be reduction in roads funding.”
Cllr Des Joyce sought information on how much the downgrading would cost the council’s roads budget and asked if the government would be willing to make up the shortfall to maintain the affected roads into the future.
Cllr Shaun Cunniffe said it was concerning that any further cuts to funding were on the horizon but urged the council to press ahead with plans to construct a pedestrian crossing on the existing N17 on the outskirts of the town.
“I’ve been raising this issue for a long time now and I hope that the NRA has responded favourably to our request for funding for these essential safety measures,” he said.
“You would worry that there will be a problem down the line with a reduction in funding for these roads but maybe they will need less maintenance once the motorway opens.”
Mr. Gavin said there were no accurate costs available for the redesignation of the road through Tuam but confirmed TII have agreed to fund works o a section of the N17 through Tuam.
“The section concerned will see resurfacing works from the railway line going north, but we have to divert traffic to allow the work to be carried out so again it has to wait until the motorway is open to traffic,” he said.