***The year in review***
THE continuation of the M18 to Tuam remained an uncertainty in 2012, despite the Government repeating its promise that Gort is not the end of the road.
In July, the Government announced its stimulus package, which included the Gort to Tuam motorway and said work on the 57km of motorway, bypassing Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam, would begin in the new year.
Land for the project is already purchased and the funding confirmed in July meant, according to the Government, the State was ready to proceed with work on the major piece of infrastructure. Parts of the Government’s heavily hyped Infrastructure Stimulus PPP Programme, were branded as “repackaging” by Clare’s only Opposition TD. Deputy Timmy Dooley noted the familiar ring to some of the projects announced under the programme, including the progression of the Gort to Tuam motorway. The Fianna Fáil TD noted, “there is an element of repackaging in this” but welcomed the fact the Government is making a firm commitment to funding capital projects that create jobs.
But for those hoping to see a sod turning or some concrete work, disappointment was to come in the form of inaction and in November, the NRA confirmed to The Clare Champion there was still no start date for the project, which would see the completion of a motorway linking Shannon to Tuam.
The Mayor of Clare, Pat Daly, weighed in and called for the project to go ahead immediately because it would be “the most important piece of infrastructure that will come about in the next decade in the West of Ireland particularly for tourism here and for Shannon Airport”. He argued that the new road, if it is built, would open the door to the airport for people from Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Galway.
Clare Government TD, Deputy Pat Breen stated the road was included in the Government’s stimulus package, which was announced earlier in the year and that the Government “is committed to this project and it is our intention to proceed with the project as outlined in the stimulus plan”.
“A preferred tender is in place and the development of this section of roadway is an important element in improving the road network from Limerick to Galway, which, when completed, will significantly reduce journey times for people travelling to Shannon Airport from the North-West.”