Motorway approval may lead to hundreds of jobs
Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created by the construction of the €550 million Gort-to-Tuam motorway in Co Galway, which has been given final clearance by Government.
The National Roads Authority confirmed yesterday it had been told to proceed with the 57km public-private partnership after the Government approved its share of funding for the project on Tuesday.
The motorway project had been suspended in light of the economic downturn, but the NRA will now re-engage with its preferred bidder, the Direct Route consortium.
A spokesman said it was hoped construction work would get under way by the end of the year.
Construction is expected to take 3½ years.
The scheme forms a major section of the proposed Atlantic Corridor, which will eventually connect the towns and regional cities on the west coast with Cork and Waterford, linking to air and sea ports along the way.
The Gort-to-Tuam route consists of almost 60km of dual carriageway. It starts at the northern extremity of the existing N18 Gort-Crusheen motorway scheme, and extends in a northerly direction with a major junction at Rathmorrissey where the route crosses the M6 Dublin to Galway motorway.
From Rathmorrissey it continues in a northerly direction to Tuam, where it connects with the existing N17.
The new route will bring motorway-quality road to about 100km north of Shannon airport.
However, the roads authority confirmed the new section of road will not include a motorway service area. In the design process the authority had proposed a rest and services facility at the junction of the new road with the M6 Dublin to Galway motorway.
However, during the planning process this element of the development was rejected by An Bord Pleanála.
The Atlantic Corridor was designed to provide the island with a “ring” motorway network stretching from Letterkenny in the north and connecting Sligo, Galway, Ennis, Limerick, Cork and Waterford and linking to ports and airports.
Remaining sections of the corridor include a 23km section from Tuam to Claremorris Co Mayo and a 25km section from Tobercurry to Knock also in Co Mayo.
Welcoming the Government’s clearance for the Gort-to-Tuam section yesterday, a roads authority spokesman said the construction of the road would be an important investment in the area and would provide “literally hundreds of jobs”.