Fine Gael TD for Galway West & Mayo South

Update on N59 Improvement Works with FAQs

I write to provide an update on the Moycullen N59 Re-Alignment and Upgrade Works. This €3.5 million project involves the re-alignment of the N59 between Clydagh and Moycullen Village. An improvement project of this scale cannot take place without causing disruption to traffic and inconvenience to residents and business-owners. However, this project with road widening and re-alignment, the replacement of Clydagh Bridge, and the installation of cycle-lanes, footpaths and lighting, will improve the N59 for all road-users.

Cllr Niamh Byrne and I have been in ongoing discussions and negotiations with both Galway County Council and Wills Brothers – the Contractors – regarding this project and we have compiled an information sheet of some of the frequently raised points.

Moycullen N59 Re-Alignment Project: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the arrangements for flag men?
    • The contactors have flag men in place on weekdays during the peak morning traffic, we will continue to see this in place. In addition, we have a commitment that flag men will be in place for the next two weekends which bring us up to September 6th. After this, we will again assess the situation. We have asked for the return of flag men in the evenings and we hope to see progress on this from August 31st to ensure there are no lengthy delays in evening traffic during the week.


  • Can the contractors use the wide footpath as a second lane?
    • In order to comply with NRA standards a roadway must be a minimum of 3.3 metres wide, at this width a low speed limit must also be in place. The width of the partially constructed footpath varies from 2.9-3.1 metres in width. Hence, the footpath is not wide enough to be used as a second lane as you need a minimum of 3.3 metres plus room for a safety barrier to divide the lanes. There are also health and safety concerns for pedestrians and motorists using driveways along the route.


  • Why are the footpaths so wide?
    • The footpaths are wide enough to accommodate a combined use path, which will allow both pedestrians and cyclist to use it on completion of the project.


  • Why does the sequence of the lights change?
    • The lights in use are vehicle-activated lights. They are set to run for a minimum of 60 seconds and a maximum of 250 seconds on the Moycullen village side and a minimum of 60 seconds and a maximum of 180 on the Galway side. After the compulsory 60 seconds the lights will stay green if the traffic keeps coming and it will stay green for up to 250 seconds on the Moycullen village side or 180 seconds on the Galway side. Problems occur when a car is slow taking off and the lights recognise a break in traffic. This can also happen if a car does not follow the signs for the lane, hence if a car swings out of the arrowed lane the lights recognise a gap. We have asked that the lane leading up to the traffic lights be lengthened so as to encourage everyone to stay in lane to maximise the effectiveness of the lights.


  • When will the works be completed?
    • The re-alignment project is due to be completed by the end of November.


  • Are there less people employed on the project at present?
    • No, in fact there are more employees working on the re-alignment project at present than there were back in July.


  • Did any locals get work on the project?
    • Yes, there are a number of local people employed in the project.


  • Have the contractors taken into account an ambulance getting through?
    • Yes, the contractors have informed the Ambulance Service of the project and lane closures and have provided emergency contact details so that they can contact them prior to approaching the works.


  • Occasionally there are only a few staff to be seen on the ground, why is this?
    • The re-alignment project is not the same as a re-surfacing project. The new road is not going to be in the same place as the previous one and as such the construction of retaining walls, new water mains, drainage works, new Eircom lines, ducting for new public lighting and ducting to connect the ‘Galway Wind Park’ in Rosscahill to the Grid are all required. In addition to the construction of new infrastructure and utilities, existing sewers and water mains must be maintained. At times it is only possible to work on one of these areas and that is why, on occasion, staff may appear to be short on the ground.


  • Why are the walls so wide?
    • The walls are very wide in areas as the new road required retaining walls to be in place to support the road in places. In addition to the retaining walls, the contractors were required to replace ‘with like’ the walls at houses/lands along the stretch of road. Homeowners and landowners were consulted well in advance and the walls constructed were built in accordance with what was agreed with them.


  • Why don’t they close one side of the road and complete the project in two sections?
    • Legally, the contractors are only permitted to use temporary lights on a maximum road section of 500 metres. Given the length of the stretch of road being re-aligned there are six such sections in the project. The contractors cannot move on to the next section or they will be in breach of the law due to health and safety requirements. The good news is that the section nearest the village is soon to be complete. This will make a difference as traffic will be eased once the lights move away from the village.


  • Can the contractors work through the night and at weekends?
    • Wills Brothers are contractually permitted to work from 7am to 7pm Monday through to Friday. Work outside of these hours would have a negative impact on the quality of life of residents living in the area. Further to this, the employees working on the project are already enduring long work hours often in poor weather conditions. Legislation is in place governing the length of the working day.


  • Why is this re-alignment project taking so long?
    • This re-alignment road project is far more complex than building say a motorway on a green field site. The contractors have to contend with ongoing traffic on one of the busiest national roads in the country. The project is taking place in the middle of a built-up residential area where they have to contend with existing utilities and services. There are serious health and safety concerns with this project, all of which have to be managed.


  • What measures are in place to avoid the knock-on effect of the roadworks on the Clooniffe road?
    • Signs are in place at the head of the Clooniffe road which signal that the road is to be used for local access only due to the narrow and windy nature of the road. Unfortunately, there is still a significant volume of non-local traffic on this road which is a danger to local road users and this has resulted in road blockages. We have asked the road engineers in Galway County Council to maintain the road as needed and to cut the hedges back as a priority; we have secured a commitment for same. We again received reassurance that there will be a fund from the NRA to resurface the road in 2016 post completion of the re-alignment project.  This work is weather dependent and cannot be completed during the winter, hence its delay until spring 2016.
  • Why was the proposed Moycullen Bypass not built before starting this project?
    • Once a bypass is built the original N59 becomes a local County Council route. The likelihood of receiving €3.5 million to complete this project were it not done now would be nil. We would be relying on yearly County Council grants to try and do bits and pieces to improve the road. Therefore the only sure way of completing this project was to do it in advance of the bypass. The bypass project is of a much bigger scale and is estimated to cost €25 million. The State has experienced several years of financial constraints to the extent that some substantial projects have been put on hold or delayed. It is a great pity that the Moycullen Bypass was not prioritised by previous governments when funding was available. Under the present Government the project is being funded to ‘shovel-ready’ stage as the State’s financial position continues to improve.
    • Securing this Re-Alignment and Upgrade Project has been a long battle. At Government level I consistently raised this project and sought funding and thanks also to the lobbying of local residents for circa forty years the funding for the project was allocated in 2014.