Message from Mr John McNabola, Town Clerk
Town Clerk John McNabola outlines the significance of the relief road in the context of Sligo’s ‘Gateway’ status
The completion of the Sligo Inner Relief Road in August marks the end of a long running and difficult saga in Sligo. This Scheme had its origins in a Traffic Study undertaken by consultants in the 1960’s. In those years a lack of financial resources left its progress uncertain. Later more onerous examination of large public projects introduced Environmental Impact Assessments and greater-levels of public participation through consultation and opposition based on a range of interests through environmental, conservational, archaeological and community interests. The project was examined by two environmental impact assessments which contributed significantly to delaying the project which eventually cleared all planning requirements in August 2000. Since that date progress on the physical construction has been excellent. However the degree by which traffic growth expanded in excess of all projections rendered the interfacing of this project with existing overloaded road networks a considerable traffic irritation.
The delays caused in the protracted process of delivering this project together with the unprecedented traffic volumes in Sligo have served to deny the Sligo road user the considerable benefits which delivery of this project would have provided of constructed many years ago. Likewise, it is now necessary to urgently progress the Western Relief Road from the Caltragh Interchange to the Finisklin Industrial Estate as early as possible. The Western Relief Road will serve to take industrial estate traffic away from the city centre and provide a more efficient and effective traffic systems.
An early benefit of the new roadway will be to relieve the over reliance on Sligo City Centre as a major traffic artery through the City, thus facilitating the introduction of a scheme of City Centre pedestrianisation and pedestrian linkage to create a user friendly, traffic free city centre experience in the principal central streets. This project will lead to extended pavement widths, reduced carriageway widths and a scheme of street furniture and quantity information signs. This in turn will provide opportunities for café culture and provide linkage for pedestrians from the Railway Station at the East through the new Sligo Town Centre development at Wine Street to Rockwood Parade, Riverside and via the new footbridges at Stephen Street Car Park, Riverside and the new hotel at the Silver Swan site to Rathquarter and the Green Fort.
The completion of a city centre dual carriageway level of access to Sligo City Centre will enable quality access to be delivered into a city style shopping experience consisting of multi-storey car parking combined with a wide range brand names shops, department stores and a new civic square which will become a focal point in Sligo. Already development has commenced while all elements of the first phase of this scheme are now progressing through the planning system. The construction of this scheme will add a number of new tower crane placements to an already cluttered Sligo landscape.
Quality roadway access to Finisklin Industrial Estate and its large extension into lands west of Sea Road together with the opening up of a large tract of industrial lands at Oakfield will showcase Sligo as a viable location for potential investors. Investors using Sligo Airport will encounter a new network of quality roads linking the existing and planned industrial and business parks located on the Western side of the City.
Sligo the Gateway City
The designation of Sligo as a gateway centre for growth is an opportunity for Sligo to stake its claim for correction of the economic imbalance between Dublin and the rest of the country.
I believe that Sligo Borough and County Councils in furtherance of the strong level of co-operation with other agencies including IDA, Enterprise Ireland, North West Regional Tourism organisation and the Sligo Chamber of Commerce and Industry are well positioned to demonstrate to Government an attractive example of co-operation and assistance which already is recognised in the selection of Sligo as a pilot study area to identify the best means to progress the development of our gateway city.
Hotel and Conference Facilities
Sligo has recently experienced a boom in hotel construction and the extension of the Broadband network over some 25 kilometres. Major hotel groups locating in Sligo or about to do so have expanded the number of bedrooms to conference scale. Thus major conferences can now come to Sligo and experience top quality accommodation to conference facilities coupled with unrivalled scenery for the passive visitors and championship golf courses for the more active. Sligo is fortunate to have such an impressive menu of facilities unrivalled elsewhere in the country.
Unprecedented investment both public and private has already significantly altered the face of Sligo. Against positive economic forecasts for our economy as a whole it is reasonable to expect that this strong level of investment will continue to complete the face change of our city from the Sligo many of us knew in the not too distant past. Sligo is now re-emerging as a strong regional centre poised to claim its status as undisputed capital of the North West.
© Sligo County Council,
County Hall, Riverside,
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