City Outer Bypass back on Government roads shortlistJuly 10, 2012 - 7:00am
By Dara Bradley
The funding obstacle to the long-delayed Galway City Outer Bypass has been removed after the road was included in a shortlist of five roads projects to be progressed under a new economic stimulus package currently being negotiated by the Government, the Sentinel has learned.
The inclusion of the project in the new capital investment plan will put funding in place for the construction of the road pending the outcome of a legal challenge currently before the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Aside from complex legal arguments and delays, a lack of funding was the greatest obstacle to the progression of the project.
Government last year had committed to continue to fund the road through the preparatory, planning and courts stages under its four-year development plan but it had given no commitment about monies for the construction stages.
Up to now, it looked unlikely that the project could be financed from international investors under a Public Private Partnership either. But uncertainty over the availability of money has been removed following yesterday’s announcement by Local Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh.
Deputy Walsh told the Sentinel that he had now been notified that the project is one of just five roads that have been earmarked for progression under a new stimulus plan likely to be financed through funding from the European Investment Bank, the sale of State assets and the Pensions Reserve Fund.
A formal statement and further details in relation to the economic stimulus package, worth around €3 billion, are expected to be issued by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin in the coming weeks.
Deputy Walsh said that the inclusion of the multimillion-euro bypass in the new capital investment plan represented a major breakthrough for the project that puts Galway within touching distance of making the long-awaited infrastructure a reality. He said around €200 million to €220 million would be needed to construct the first phase of the road, from Doughiska to the Moycullen Road at Glenlo Abbey, including a bridge over the Corrib.
“The Galway City Outer Bypass has been one of my foremost local priorities since I was elected to the Dáil last year, and for the first time I think we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.