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M6 - Galway City Ring Road [planning decision pending]



  • I am sick and tired of certain Irish people pretending our cities are built like on the continent. They're not. They're built more like LA. Cannot turn back the clock. We should accept Irish cities are largely car dependent, and therefore make them more car friendly, not less. If you want to do your virtue signalling on the environment then get electric car.
    Galway west is built like LA, and it’s an outlier. Other cities in the country are planned with development concentrated around population centres.

    ”Build for the car” is a colossal mistake, and it makes cities unliveable in. You can see that by looking at the first adopters of the pattern, in the USA who are now trying to undo the mess it has got them into. For example, Dallas has abandoned car-centred planning, and is now pursuing a programme of re-densification of the city and public-transport provision, and the only new road capacity has been built around the city has been tolled.

    If even the Texans have accepted you can’t just drive everywhere, maybe it’s not virtue signalling, and it’s just a realisation that it was a stupid idea in the first place.

  • The last I heard on this it was due to have a planning decision made by the end of June. What's the latest?

  • That got pushed back. Decision is due this month...... If that doesn't get pushed back too

  • So this thread stated with a decision due NOV of 2008.

    Now in Aug 2021, DaCOR wonders if the "pushed back June date" will be pushed back?

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  • But going around the same town, or not as seems to be the case.

  • 27th August. No guarantee that won't be deferred again.

    All things aside, it'll be 3 years with ABP in October. That's downright appalling.

  • So much has changed in the last few years, environmentally speaking. It's hard to see how this will ever be built

    I know my own perspective on this road has shifted from one of unwavering support to now being 100% dead against it after removing emotion from the equation and educating myself on alternatives.

  • It's crazy. And that's before we even get started on the inevitable judicial reviews and vexatious appeal after vexatious appeal after vexatious appeal. The planning system in this country is simply no longer fit for purpose. The good news is that now even bike lanes and similar environmentalist measures are falling afoul of our ridiculous system, and the anti-car crowd are up in arms after getting a taste of their own medicine. The winds are turning rapidly in favour of some serious reform.

    Until then, we'll just have to sit tight. The road will probably get through the process eventually, like the M28 did. But how much time and money will be squandered in the meantime?

  • Getting the excuses in early and as usual, it's somebody elses fault. It's not the planning system which is the issue here, it's the step before that which decided to pursue this "all things to all men" and to hell with everything else road solution. It was never likely to survive both the planning and public spending approvals processes.

    The need for several tunnel and viaduct sections on such a short section of road should have been a red flag. That's before getting into the whole building a road to solve commuter congestion when such a road is only going to create more commuter congestion situation.

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  • Even if thats the case - surely we could have had final decisions in a much shorter timeframe.

    3 years with An Bord Pleanala. No project, regardless of complexity, should take that long to reach a decision. If it's as bad as you claim (and I dont disagree btw) there should have been a swift rejection. 3 years in we still havent gotten a decision. Farce.

  • ABP have to assess projects on the basis of the information they have received. If they receive vast amounts of information relating to huge engineering works and environmental impacts of multiple proposed viaducts and tunnels, on top of the standard volumes of information which comes with a 17km road with a major river crossing and passing several sensitive areas, then they have to give review it all and give everything due consideration.

    I don't see how it is ABPs fault that someone dumped an over-engineered mess on their desk, they just have to do their jobs and wade through it.

  • Exactly. You can argue about the merits of the project as you please, but the planning process should not take this long under any circumstance. The unavoidable trip through the courts will probably add another couple of years on top of ABP.

    Give ABP more resources to decide cases faster, change environmental and planning laws to simplify the process and greatly narrow the grounds for any appeal, and drastically raise the bar for courts to accept a judicial review and also to subsequently overturn permission.

  • IF ABP can be overwhelmed by one large application then it clearly is not fit for purpose.

  • Who said anything about being overwhelmed?

    There is a huge amount of info to be assessed on this project, all in the context of national and European law. Vast amounts of survey and assessments which all have to be considered and taken into account in the final decision. See

    The process has to be gone through. If ABP do approve it, the decision needs to be on rock-solid grounds, anything else will just get throw out in court. They of course dont know what the decision will be until they have gone through all the documentation and given everything due consideration. Dont hate the player, hate the game.

  • "Who said anything about being overwhelmed?"

    Three years is an unacceptable turnaround time by any measure. If ABP does not have the capacity to deliver prompt decisions on key national infrastructure projects, it is overwhelmed. I'm not sure what the point in disputing this is.

    As for hating the game, we don't have to. The Oireachtas can and should rewrite the rulebook.

  • Have been on a similar journey myself. It really is as bad an infrastructure idea from the outset as any in Ireland. Codology about it being the first phase of a multimodal sustainable plan shouldn't fool anyone. The projections re cycling use post construction are one of the starkest stats.

    It might blow off a bit of steam to talk about simplifying environmental laws, cutting through red tape etc, but this is not how things are done anymore, the direction of travel of policy and public opinion is thankfully towards a more enlightened view of our natural world, and our future.

  • Lets look at the timeline and how it unfolded;

    23 October 2018 - application to ABP

    4 April 2019 - ABP issue Request for Further Information

    30 August 2019 - response to Request for Further Information

    18 February 2020 - Oral hearing gets underway

    26 March 2020 - Due to the continuing restrictions resulting from Covid-19, the oral hearing is postponed until further notice

    12 October 2020 - Oral hearing resumes

    Notice anything in there which delayed a necessary part of the process?

    And the Oireachtas can't rewrite the rulebook, much of the legislation is underpinned by EU directives. Unless you are suggesting Ireland leave the EU which is probably the most difficult, and time-consuming and less likely to succeed way of achieving what you want, not unlike the Galway Bypass really.

  • If ABP had decided the matter promptly, we would have known the final outcome long before Covid ever appeared. But it's overwhelmed, so we still don't know to this day.

    National legislatures are responsible for deciding how to transpose EU directives into domestic law. As other EU members don't seem to have our environmental planning problems and long, long delays, this strongly suggests there is an issue on our end. The Oireachtas needs to tidy up the legislation.

  • A prompt before Covid would have had to have been made in Jan 2020 at the latest, little over a year after the application was submitted. The only possible decision which could have been made at that point was to reject it as any decision to approve at that point would almost certainly get thrown out in court (not least because it wouldn't have followed the standard process). For someone who keeps telling us how necessary this road is and how it needs to go ahead, that seems a major change of tune. Had ABP just rejected it after little over a year, you'd be doing twice as much complaining and bitching about ABP

    In the 16 months between application and Covid hitting, ABP had assessed the submission and requested further information, the applicant had submitted the further information, a consultation on the further information had been held and the oral hearings had started. Everything was progressing in the standard manner until March 2020 when everything (literally the whole world) was thrown into chaos.

    Transposing EU directives into domestic law slightly differently isn't going to remove the need for the EIA and NIS, both of which are incredibly complex, as are the appropriate assessments of them. Simply changing how EU directives are transposed into domestic law doesn't solve the problem you have as challenges can still be made to EU courts and the transposition can be found to be flawed. The Aarhus Convention would also continue to exist so the need for public consultation on the significant further information which was provided.

    Anyway, keep moaning about it all you want, it doesn't change anything. You should be happy as the fact a decision hasn't yet been made keeps hope that this road might actually get built alive (for those who hope it gets build). My stated opinion on this project going back years has been that it is an over complicated and it wont happen due to costs and/or environmental grounds and that this process will ultimately be a massive waste of time. Looks like it is playing out like that.

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  • It's been well documented that ABP are understaffed and that the SHD process has bogged them down even further. Even an application a big and complex as this should not take this long and would not have if they had enough staff. The delay is 100% down to ABP and their staff issues.

  • Regardless of staffing issues at ABP, the oral hearings were delayed by 6 months due to Covid so no, the delay is not 100% down to ABP and their staff issues.

  • Personally I hope the decision gets delayed again and for as long as possible.

    The economic, political and environmental landscapes are changing rapidly making this project less and less feasible as time goes on.

  • If ABP were not clearly overwhelmed, the oral hearings for the bypass would have taken place long before Covid ever emerged.

  • The application was made later October 2018. Long before Covid ever emerged would have to be before the end of 2019, so you think they could have reviewed the application, requested further information, received the further information, held a consultation on the further information and held the oral hearings in just over a year. That just isn't realistic and doing it that way would almost certainly resulted in a rejection, or an approval which gets overturned in court. You'd have a lot more to complain about then.

  • "A long decision process" and "a short decision process that will almost definitely get overturned in court" is a false choice.

    If ABP were not overwhelmed, it would be able to carry out its statutory responsibilities, including reviews and oral hearings, in a prompt and efficient fashion, without an increased risk of its findings being overturned in court. We should expect this as citizens, and if it is not delivered, we should demand it.

  • Yeah there's a lot we should expect and demand as citizens but to be frank, rapid turnarounds by ABP wouldn't figure in a top 100 list of things for the majority of citizens

  • True, only us fans on the Roads forum need things built. Our fellow citizens don't need houses, schools, sustainable transport infrastructure etc.

    The same rules holding up the Galway bypass are impeding the mass rollout of bike lanes across Dublin and have put any further expansion elsewhere on ice. They're also preventing sustainable high-density housing developments being built across the country, and will almost certainly be used to prevent works necessary for BusConnects etc from proceeding. If you really want a national green revolution, you should be demanding reform of the planning system too.

  • Reform of the planning system is one thing but there is no way a major and complex road like this could be approved in little over a year including oral hearings. There is a process which has to be followed and huge amounts of information which need to be adequately considered when making a decision on a project like this.

    In all honesty, a few months delay with ABP is irrelevant if they approve, it is almost certainly going to result in years of legal challenges. This was always going to be the biggest issue with this project and even if it eventually clears all the hurdles and is fully approved, it is unlikely the cost will be justifiable given the way national and global policy is going. People can complain about ABP or the planning system all they want but this project was seriously flawed from conception. ABP would be more efficient elsewhere if they didn't have to devote resources to this.

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  • Decision deferred until October 1st.