Posted by Declan Tierney, Connacht Tribune in News.

With the prospects of the Gort–Tuam Motorway not proceeding for several years, it has been confirmed that consultant engineers have been appointed to progress the Claregalway bypass.

And there are high hopes that the compulsory purchase of lands required for the road could commence in late summer or early autumn.

Is this is the case then construction of the €15 million route commence in early 2012 and would be completed before the end of the year.

With the M17/M18 motorway now in jeopardy because of a lack of confidence in investing in such a large roads project in this country, the focus of attention has now firmly switched to the Claregalway bypass.

Galway West TD Noel Grealish has been informed that RPS Consulting Engineers have been appointed to prepare the compulsory purchase documentation and progress this to an oral hearing in Claregalway.

It is understood that around 20 land owners in the area will be affected by the compulsory purchase process and it is hoped to have this completed by August or September next.

A total of 250,000 has been allocated for this stage of the Claregalway inner relief road and it also involves the preparation of an environmental impact assessment.

The independent TD also said that in view of the fact that the Gort–Tuam Motorway will not be proceeding, funding should also be made available for the Tuam bypass as a stand alone project.

The compulsory purchase orders for the Tuam bypass were approved more than five years ago and most of the land owners concerned have already been paid.

‘The National Roads Authority have confirmed that they are having difficulty in securing funding for the Gort–Tuam Motorway and in view of this, the bypasses for Claregalway and Tuam should now take precedence.

‘The motorway is unlikely to be built for many years so it is now imperative that the Claregalway project is speeded up and hopefully, all going well, it will go to construction in early 2012″, Deputy Grealish said.

The bypass, which will stretch from Kiniska on the Tuam side of Claregalway to Cregboy on the Galway side and it would also involve the provision of a new bridge over the River Clare.

It is estimated that the whole project would cost in the region of €15 million—some €10 million less than it would have cost five years ago.

Senior Roads Engineers are of the view that the N17 Tuam to Galway road is suited to a capacity of just 13,800 vehicles a day but currently there are an average of 27,000 vehicles passing through Claregalway on a daily basis and there is a need for the village to be bypassed.