The operators of he new motorway between Gort and Tuam may have no choice but to introduce toll charges as projections of traffic using the route are dismal.
While the public have been told there will be no toll plazas along the 57km route, the lack of usage may prompt the developers to introduce charges. It has now been branded as a potential ghost motorway before even being built.
In fact only a sod has been turned on the route. Government politicians have been hitting out at the projections that a mere 7,300 will be using the section from Gort, but some politicians have rubbished these figures.
During the height of the boom there were more than 30,000 vehicles passing through Claregalway on a daily basis. This has now reduced to around 27,000.
Galway East TD Paul Connaughton insisted that there will not be any tolls on the route. The National Roads Authority has assured him of this. However, the operators of the motorway which is being built on a public private partnership arrangement do not want it to be a loss making project.
The motorway has the capacity to take up to 50,000 vehicles per day and it would be something of an embarrassment if it could only achieve a quarter of this potential.
On the southern side, it will bypass the likes of Gort, Ardrahan, Kilcogan and Clarinbridge. Then from Tuam it will take out Claregalway although many insist that it will not resolve the traffic congestion through the village every morning and evening.
Independent TD Noel Grealish has been pushing for a Claregalway bypass for several years and does not subscribe to the argument that the motorway will eliminate the traffic congestion in the village.
The village of Claregalway will still be choked up with traffic even when the motorway is completed. The Government have to get it into their heads that not everyone will use a motorway that is longer than the existing route.
“In addition to that, all of the traffic will end up in Doughiska which will become the ultimate bottleneck because there will be no Galway City Outer Bypass,” Deputy Grealish added.
Meanwhile, Cllr Frank Kearney in Turloughmore has rubbished a suggestion by An Taisce that the existing road between Oranmore and Claregalway was sufficient for traffic needs. Cllr Kearney added that this project had been in the “melting pot” for some time and there was now an opportunity to get on with building it.