By Declan Tierney
Bemused motorists travelling between Tuam and Galway have been wondering why hundreds of traffic cones were placed on the stretch of road beyond Claregalway without any works taking place.
The bollards were erected almost six weeks ago accompanied by a sign informing motorists of a new traffic lay out ahead.
But since then nothing has happened but the presence of the lines of cones has slowed traffic down both coming into Claregalway from the city direction and going the opposite direction.
The cones are located on the straight stretch of road between Cloonacauneen and the village of Claregalway and have caused a lot of confusion amongst motorists travelling along this route on a daily basis.
The reason that the traffic cones were erected is due to the fact that the edge of the road on either side is giving way.
And it is all to do with the fact that, a number of years ago, right turning filter lanes were provided in the middle of the N17 at this location.
This meant that the actual lanes were then widened to take in parts of the hard shoulders on both sides of the road.
However, it emerged that the surface of the hard shoulders were not able to take the volume of traffic that use the N17 on a daily basis – over 30,000 cars travel between Tuam and Galway each day.
It resulted in parts of the hard shoulder giving way and this situation was exacerbated by the horrible weather conditions last winter.
Motorists found that their cars wavered when driving along this stretch which resulted in Galway County Council and the National Roads Authority bollards preventing drivers using the hard shoulder.
But since the cones were erected last July, motorists have been bemused by their presence and particularly with no works taking place – it has also resulted in traffic being slowed down.
But Director of Services for Roads and Transportation with Galway County Council, Frank Gilmore explained that the filter lanes were put in, the carriageway of the road was routed in along the hard shoulder.
Mr. Gilmore said that it was new obvious that the hard shoulder was not capable of taking the volume of traffic using the N17 and parts of the surface had sank.
He said that contracts were being signed for the works to take place and hoped that resurfacing works would commence in a matter of weeks. He said that the cones were erected as a matter of safety for motorists.