Journey times between Ennis and Galway will be significantly reduced today with the opening of the new M18 Crusheen-Gort By-Pass.
The new 22 kilometres stretch of the N18 is seen as a major boost to the West of Ireland’s Road infrastructure, but also marks the end of an era for businesses and residents in Gort and Crusheen with up to 10,000 vehicles per day to be removed from both areas following this afternoon’s opening.
The new Crusheen Gort by-pass is being welcomed as a major improvement in road connectivity in the West as it will remove two of the most notorious traffic bottlenecks between Ennis and Galway.
By-passing the town of Gort and the well known Railway Bridge Bends in Crusheen is also expected to improve the quality of life for local residents, as the new M18 will remove 8,000 to 10,000 vehicles per day in both areas.
The 207 million euro project is made up of 22 kilometres of motorway from Craggard, south of Crusheen to Ballingers Bend North of Gort, and includes 14 new bridges, 12kilometres of new access tracks and the realignment of 10kilometres of side roads.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey will be in Gortavoher, near Tubber to officially open the new M18 at noon, with motorists due to save 20 minutes on the peak commuting journey times between Ennis and Galway once it’s open to public traffic later..
The Business community in Gort has expressed some concerns about the fact that the South Galway town has just one access route off the new M18 motorway, but Galway County Council says remedial works to improve road surfaces in Gort will be a significant boost to the area.
Senior Roads Engineer Michael Timmons says the new motorway also represents a significant improvement in road safety on the new 120 kilometre per hour dual carriageway as well as the old Gort to Crusheen road which will see it’s speed limit reduced immediately.
Flood hit North Clare and South Galway landowners along with IFA officials are set to meet with Minister Dempsey to highlight what they say is a lack of progress on urgently needed drainage work
The delegation say that very little progress has been made in this area since the serious flooding last November.
They will also express concern about development on the final section of the M 18 from Gort to Galway as part of the proposed road goes through farmland near Gort which has an extensive system of under ground caves and drainage.