Politicians to blast traffic plan out of the waterSeptember 28, 2012 - 7:15am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
Red-faced city officials are going to have to go back to the drawing board with their controversial plans to convert the Menlo Park roundabout into a signalised junction as an overwhelming majority of city councillors are set to vote against them next month.
The Galway City Tribune has established that at least 12 of the 15 local authority members have already decided to vote against the plans which have enraged local residents in Menlo, Tirellan, and the Headford Road.
Two of the remaining three were uncontactable yesterday, while the third has deferred making a decision until he meets with community representatives next week. The plans will require a majority vote when they are put on the agenda of a local authority meeting next month.
Councillors are understood to be taken aback by the scale of the opposition to the plans, which have been on public display at City Hall until today. Vehement opposition was expressed by a huge majority during a heated meeting which was attended by up to 250 people at the Menlo Park Hotel three weeks ago.
The Mayor of Galway, Terry O’Flaherty (Independent), and the Chairman of the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Michael Crowe (FF), have already withdrawn their support for the controversial plans.
The Kirwan Roundabout changeover is part of a comprehensive plan by Galway City Council to replace six roundabouts across the city’s main N6 thoroughfare with signalised junctions, which can be coordinated from a control room at City Hall.
But locals are enraged that they will find it difficult to access the new signalised junction from a proposed new slip road which will run through the grounds of the Menlo Park Hotel, which would be subjected to a Compulsory Purchase Order for part of its grounds if the plan gets the green light next month.
Cllr Declan McDonnell (Independent) this week called on officials to prepare plans for a ‘five-set junction’ before asking the councillors to vote to replace the Kirwan Roundabout.
“We are taking the word of the officials that a five-set junction won’t work, but I would like to see the operation of such a junction before I make a decision,” he said. “I have requested that all councillors are given an opportunity of seeing such a junction before making their decision.”
Cllr Colette Connolly (Labour) that the plans set to come before the City Council were “idiotic” and would jeopardise the future of the Menlo Park Hotel, where 100 people were employed.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.