More traffic jams expected as city braces itself for weekend invasionJuly 6, 2012 - 7:00am
BY FRANK FARRAGHER
It was akin to a Connacht final at Pearse Stadium finishing just before midnight, as thousands of cars jammed all routes out of the city on Wednesday night following the Volvo Ocean Race fireworks display in Mutton Island.
The City Council and Galway Gardaí reported that all routes out of the city were filled to capacity from 11.30pm to 12.30am as thousands of ‘county tourists’ made their way home after making it a family night-out for the fireworks display that took place at 10.45pm.
Galway Gardaí estimated that around 30,000 people were present for the fireworks display, but with a large proportion of that crowd made up of families travelling in from the county, the roads just clogged up around midnight.
This week, the City Council and Galway Gardaí have asked all people travelling in from the south, east and north, to strongly consider using the park-and-ride facility from Ballybrit Racecourse with City Council Director of Services, Ciaran Hayes, predicting huge crowds for the weekend.
“The Volvo has been an incredible success so far this week and there are real grounds for expecting even bigger crowds to throng the city for the weekend.
“What we are saying to people, is that we have an excellent park-and-ride service in place, that can avoid a lot of the traffic hold-ups with the bus lanes – this make life so much easier for people wishing to enjoy what is a wonderful event for Galway,” Mr Hayes told the Galway City Tribune.
An estimated 36,000 people turned out on Tuesday evening for the Saw Doctors concert at the Docks, an event that led to four mile tailbacks into town on the N17 Tuam Road, a route made famous with one of that band’s early hits.
“We are seeing most unusual traffic flows with roads like the N17 being extremely busy inward at a time when the most of the vehicles would be leaving the city. We are delighted though in the city at how the new automated traffic control system has worked this week,” said Mr Hayes.
Some motorists spoke of a slightly ‘eerie’ experience when caught in huge traffic tailbacks out of town around midnight on Wednesday night – a ‘normal’ five minute drive from the city centre to Knocknacarra took some motorists over 45 minutes, following the fireworks display.
Sergeant Shane Cummins of Galway Garda Station told the Galway City Tribune that given the crowds thronging the city so far this week, there was a strong possibility of even bigger numbers turning out for the weekend gigs.
“These really are phenomenal crowds coming to the city and I would plead with all motorists approaching from the eastern routes to use the park-and-ride facility at Ballybrit Racecourse.
“Anyone thinking of bringing their cars into the city centre will have to accept that long delays will face them – the park-and-ride is a really great facility that can take all the parking problems and traffic delays out of the equation,” said Sgt Cummins.
He added that there had been a very positive reaction from the many motorists who had used the park-and-ride facility so far this week.
“All of them said it was quick and highly efficient – it took the stress out of their visit to the city,” said Sgt Cummins.
A massive crowd is expected for the Sharon Shannon concert on Saturday night at the Docks (9pm), which features a 40 piece back-up orchestra, while large daytime crowds are expected on Saturday morning for the in-port racing. The Stunning play at tonight’s free open air concert in the Docks.