City Council holds firm on new traffic junction planSeptember 7, 2012 - 7:15am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
City officials are determined to press ahead with controversial plans to convert the Menlo Park roundabout into a signalised junction, despite hearing vehement opposition from local residents at a meeting attended by 250 people on Wednesday night.
Residents from Menlo, Tirellan, and the Headford Road are adamant that the plans for the Kirwan roundabout will make it extremely difficult for road users to access the junction from the Menlo Park Road.
The plans will involve a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of land at the Menlo Park Hotel, where Wednesday’s meeting took place, and a full vote of Galway City Council as they constitute a variation to the City Development Plan (CDP).
Despite hearing vocal criticism of the project at the public meeting, Director of Services Ciaran Hayes told the Galway City Tribune yesterday that local authority officials felt the original plans for the junction remained the best for the flow of traffic all across the city.
“The decisions that have to be made have an impact on the entire city,” said Mr Hayes. “The N6 is the main route across the entire city and this is an extremely important project for the city as a whole. There is an acceptance that the removal of the roundabouts across the N6 is a good thing for the city, but this is a very localised issue.”
Mr Hayes estimated that 40% of the vehicles which use the Menlo Park Road each day were “rat runners” who would no longer use the route once a signalised junction with five exits replaced the current roundabout.
Officials agreed to redraw the plans following vehement opposition at another public meeting some months ago, but their revised plans were greeted with uproar by businesses in the Liosbán Estate and Sandy Road, which resulted in officials reverting to the original plans.
Councillors are due to vote on the plans in October – and nine of the 15 members of Galway City Council were present to hear vehement opposition from up to 60 speakers on Wednesday night.
Cllr Michael Crowe (FF), the Chairman of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, said he was withdrawing his support for the plans after hearing the public opposition at the meeting.
The owner of the hotel, John Francis, told Wednesday night’s meeting that he was “100% in support” of the local residents in opposing the plan. Mr Francis said he would not agree to the sale of land.
For more this story, see the Galway City Tribune.