Providing safer city streets by splitting through-traffic and regular city flow, easing traffic congestion and reducing journey times in and around Galway are some of the driving forces behind the city’s new N6 Ring Road.
Galway County Council, Galway City Council, and the National Transport Authority (NTA) came together to address Galway’s transport issues, culminating in the Galway Transport Strategy. The N6 Galway City Ring Road (GCRR) is a key component of this transport strategy which realises Galway City and County Council’s vision of all elements of transport working together to achieve an integrated sustainable transport solution which will deliver efficiency and resilience on Galway’s transport network, across all modes.
The N6 Galway City Ring Road will help reduce existing traffic congestion and future proof this part of the national road network, re-routing traffic away from the city centre and providing extra capacity to the regional network. It will also free up road space for more active and sustainable transport modes, and improve journey time reliability for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.
As a gateway to Connemara and the West Region, which includes large Gaeltacht areas, optimising transport connectivity, access and mobility within and through Galway City and its environs will also be essential to help the region chart a steady course for economic growth.
Galway County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland appointed Arup to develop a bypass for the city. However, during the initial analysis it became very clear that an integrated transport solution for the city was required. This work included feasibility studies, identification of constraints and route selection, design and planning for a scheme. Planning permission was granted for the current proposed development in December 2021.
6km of single carriageway
12kmof dual carriageway
Freeing Galway from its traffic stranglehold
Reducing non-essential through-traffic choking the city centre was a priority for Galway, after determining through initial analysis that many drivers were rat-racing through the city to bypass gridlock on the national road network. The proposed new road encircles the city to the north, linking the R336 coastal road on the west to the N6 motorway to Dublin on the east, and providing a necessary new crossing of the River Corrib.
The N6 Galway City Ring Road is a key element of the Galway Transport Strategy. This new road will free road space in the city centre to enable a shift towards environmentally friendly transport modes to bring about a sustainable transport and mobility system in Galway City and its environs. ” Eileen McCarthy Director, Highways
As lead designer, Arup developed an integrated transportation solution for Galway City and its environs, incorporating the designs of various organisations and disciplines and liaising with a wide variety of stakeholders. The N6 GCRR is a key component of this solution and includes around 6km of single and 12km of dual carriageways. The proposed development also includes a bridge, a viaduct, and two tunnels with lengths over 200m; as well as link roads, side roads, junctions and associated structures from the west of Galway City near Bearna to the existing M6 east of Galway City near Coolagh.
Keeping Galway on the move
The N6 GCRR is designed to improve connections and keep Galway on the move, while minimising impact on the region’s protected natural and built environment. The current route was selected because, out of the potential options available, it offered the least negative impact on local residents as well as local flora, fauna and sites of historical importance.
Galway has a rich natural heritage with a wealth of habitats of high ecological importance, including some Natura 2020 designated areas. The proposed development will include extensive landscape planting for screening and the creation of specific habitat areas to compensate for loss of habitat elsewhere. To mitigate noise impacts across the proposed road development, the design will incorporate noise barriers as required and will have low noise road surface (LNRS) throughout.
By providing significant extra capacity to the transport network as a whole, the new N6 GCRR will improve the resilience of critical road infrastructure both at local and regional level. As well as re-routing non-essential traffic away from the city, reducing local travel congestion requires an improvement of the public transport, cycle and walking provisions to facilitate the switch away from private car traffic.
The N6 GCRR will also link the west of Ireland into the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), designed to enhance connectivity between regions, remove bottlenecks that hamper the smooth functioning of the EU’s internal market and promote a sustainable, multi-modal mobility network for passengers.