Work on the construction of new motorway between Gort and Tuam in Co Galway is expected to begin this year (2014) when negotiations are finally concluded between the National Roads Authority and the contracting Consortium Direct Route, whose members include Roadbridge, John Sisk, and Lagan, three large Irish civil engineering firms.
The Department of Public Expenditure has approved the allocation of money to cover the Exchequer element of the scheme. The National Roads Authority has re-engaged with the preferred private contractor to complete the new N17/ N18 route. The construction of a 57km motorway—part of the so-called Atlantic Corridor on the west coast—will take thousands of vehicles out of Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam each day. It will be constructed as a Public Private Partnership project. There will be no tolls on the route. Instead the State will pay the private contractor an annuity over 25 years. The NRA says hundreds of jobs will be created during the construction process.
It is expected the motorway will take up to three years to complete and should be open to traffic in 2017. An environmental assessment of the proposed route has already been completed and approved. All archaeological sites investigated along the route have been fully resolved under licence from the National Museum. In addition, compulsory purchase orders required to develop the road have been completed.
Negotiations are currently ongoing between the National Roads Authority and the Direct Route consortium—a group made up of several contractors including Lagan, Roadbridge and Sisk. That consortium has already been involved in the construction of the Limerick Tunnel. A spokesperson for Direct Route said they were ready to start work on the Gort to Tuam motorway, pending completion of the procurement process. It is hoped to sign the contract for construction of the motorway early this year.