The new road from Oranmore to Tuam will be a reality by 2010, it was announced this week. The tender process will start in early 2009 and construction will start within two years.
The news was confirmed to Fianna Fáil TD and Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Transport Committee Frank Fahey by the Chief Executive of the National Roads Authority, Fred Barry.
Mr Barry also informed Dep Fahey that the Oranmore to Tuam motorway now provides a definite timescale for the bypass of Claregalway.
The tender process for construction of a new road from Oranmore to Tuam through a Public Private Partnership mechanism will start in early 2009 with work on the road starting within two years.
The NRA will proceed immediately with the tendering process for the Oranmore to Tuam section, to include the Tuam bypass.
The Tuam to Claremorris section of the N17 is still in the planning section and will not be submitted to An Bord Pleanála until 2009, but the NRA will proceed with the road incorporating the Oranmore to Tuam and the Tuam bypass in any case and treat the two sections as separate contracts if necessary.
Dep Fahey said the introduction of the non-tolled PPP funding mechanism has resulted in a “definite starting date” from the NRA. “In effect this means that the process will be even faster that the Galway to Dublin roadway.”
The NRA believes the Oranmore to Tuam motorway will take 80 per cent of the traffic out of Claregalway, “significantly reducing the congestion in the village”.
The Claregalway inner relief road will also proceed through the planning stage but will be subject to the local funding contribution from Galway County Council.
Deputy Fahey said the confirmation on the Oranmore to Claremorris road is “good news not only for Galway but also for the people of the entire West and Midwest of Ireland” as it will result in a dual carriageway standard roadway from Claremorris to Limerick.
He also said that he thinks that, because of the necessity to get funding from the local council, the inner relief road will probably not happen before the other road is built - i.e. that's dead.
Of course, the other question is, how does a "non-tolled PPP" work?