N6 Galway City Transport Project

Galway County Council, Galway City Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly known as National Roads Authority)[1] and the National Transport Authority are collaborating in developing a transport vision for Galway where all elements of transport are working together to achieve and integrated sustainable solution. This vision recognises that the West Region has a significant and valuable resource in its natural heritage environment with a wide variety of species and habitats of local, national and international importance, whilst also being conscious of the need to establish effective communication links to ensure that the region continues to thrive and to offer an alternative to the east coast corridor. To get Galway City and environs working and functioning in a sustainable manner for the future is key to this vision.

Galway City experiences significant transport problems such as:IMG_7166

  • Peak hour congestion and journey time unreliability;
  • Over reliance on private cars;
  • Lack of alternative transport modes; and
  • Lack of road space for the development of Smarter Mobility and Public Transport.

The transport vision being developed to address these issues includes Smarter Mobility, Public Transport and a new River Corrib Crossing.

Galway City Council has established that there is a need to provide relief from traffic congestion in order to implement smarter mobility and public transport measures. Previous studies have indicated that this cannot be achieved without another River Corrib bridge crossing.

The N6 Galway City Transport Project confirms that such a crossing is possible and has identified a preferred location for this crossing.

Galway City Council, in partnership with the National Transport Authority (NTA), is undertaking a process to review and consolidate transport proposals for the city, in order to form a coherent and integrated ‘transport strategy’- which is to be formulated as an ‘Integrated Transport Management Programme’ for Galway. This programme will set out the smart mobility, public transport and infrastructure measures required and allow planning and funding applications to be made.

The Integrated Transport Management Programme for Galway will inform how the new River Corrib bridge crossing and the N6 Galway City Transport Project may contribute to the development of an integrated transport solution for Galway. Galway County Council supported by Galway City Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland are committed to intertwine this corridor, within which new road infrastructure can be implemented, with the package of measures evolving from the public transport and smart mobility projects to deliver a final solution which is sustainable and achievable.

A key driver for the N6 Galway City Transport Project is to minimise the impact to the natural and built environment.   Galway City is fortunate in its location on the River Corrib as it flows between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay. Lough Corrib forms a natural division between the east and west of County Galway and the distance between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay is only 4km within which lies Galway City, very much at the heart of County Galway. In addition to a beautiful location with fantastic natural amenities, the city is located in the middle of areas which are rich in natural heritage with a wealth of natural habitats. This has resulted in significant areas around Galway City being designated as areas of high ecological importance.

The physical form of the city, together with the limited available space between the lake and the bay, plus the presence of established communities, commercial and educational facilities,  Natura 2000 designated sites and National Heritage Areas and sites of significant architectural, archaeological and cultural heritage significance presents significant constraints for developing new infrastructure for the city and focuses attention on the importance of considering all alternatives in order to minimise the impact on those designated sites.

The necessity and benefit of developing a transportation solution were established during Phase 1: Scheme Concept and Feasibility Studies. A suitable study area within which key constraints were identified, alternatives examined and feasible solutions developed was identified during Phase 2 Route Selection Stage. A systematic assessment of these options was undertaken which led to the selection of the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor for the road component of the transport vision, the N6 Galway City Transport Project. The Emerging Preferred Route Corridor was published in May 2015.

The scheme is currently at Phase 3 – Design and Phase 4 EIS/EAR and The Statutory Processes. These two phases run concurrently. The objective of Phase 3 – Design is to develop the design of a scheme, following the selection of a Preferred Route Corridor, to a stage where sufficient levels of detail exist to establish landtake requirements and to progress the scheme through the statutory processes.

The objective of Phase 4 EIS/EAR and The Statutory Processes is to complete an environmental assessment of the design developed in Phase 3, identify the potential impacts of the proposed development on the receiving environment and establish mitigation measures required. Legal documentation for land acquisition is also completed as part of this phase, in addition to the statutory processes necessary to confirm that the proposed scheme is in accordance with planning and environmental legislative and procedural requirements.

[1] The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has signed the order for the merger of the National Roads Authority (NRA) with the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) to establish a single new entity called Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).  The National Roads Authority is known as Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) since 1st of August 2015.