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The view of where the northbound M18 ends outside Gort

Motorway would be a ‘game changer’

THE opening of the Gort to Tuam motorway would be a “game changer” for Galway and would bring with it a “much-needed economic boost”, according to one local representative.

Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins has written to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to ask that every effort is made to ensure early delivery of the new Gort to Tuam dual-carriageway.

“I have written to Minister Brendan Howlin and informed him that this road is a very necessary piece of infrastructure for the people of East Galway and beyond. I have urged him to ensure all financing matters are finalised so it can proceed to construction as soon as possible” she said.

“Having proper road facilities in the county will open up all sorts of opportunities in terms of foreign direct investment, given improved accessibility. The motorway will deliver a much-needed economic boost to Galway East and to all the towns and villages along the route and trigger a revitalisation corridor along the route from Gort to Tuam. It will cut congestion and travel times and create thousands of jobs during construction. Furthermore, trucks will be taken off the road, thus alleviating road-safety concerns” Senator Higgins added.

According to the Galway senator, “This motorway is a game-changer for Galway. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform should develop an innovative new funding and financing model to make this happen and to that end we need to think outside the square in terms of financing and delivering the State’s next tranche of productivity-boosting infrastructure.

“This road would mean relief for many motorists travelling the existing secondary roads. I feel it is important that strategic infrastructure is the hallmark of the Government,” Senator Higgins concluded.

Meanwhile, a Galway county councillor has called on the local authority to push the Office of Public Works (OPW) to proceed with the Kiltiernan/Ballinderreen drainage scheme “as a matter of urgency” before works begin on the new Gort to Tuam road.

At a recent meeting of the local authority, Independent Councillor Michael Fahy said he wanted the council to “impress the OPW to proceed as soon as possible” with the drainage scheme, which he said “must be a priority to alleviate flooding in Kilternan  and Ballinderreen from occurring again”.

In a written response, county secretary Michael Owens stated, “The area office is currently reviewing the scale and extent of works with a view to reducing the overall cost of the flood mitigation scheme, so that the minimum cost benefit analysis of 1.5 as set down by the OPW can be achieved.

“On finalising the works programme for the Kiltiernan/Ballinderreen drainage scheme, a revised minor works scheme application will be made to the OPW for consideration.”

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