Developing Sligo’s Transport Infrastructure
Tommy Carroll, Senior Engineer Infrastructure Directorate, sets out Sligo County Council’s main priorities in terms of its roads network.
- Tommy Carroll
Do you envisage that our current rate of growth can be sustained?I am confident that we have the vision and commitment to see Sligo develop and prosper in the years ahead.
Our local economy has shown rapid growth over the past two years with the skyline of Sligo dotted with cranes, and indeed the same progress is evident in the county's other towns and villages.
This is a very welcome development particularly for our profession who must design, project manage and maintain these major infrastructural and commercial projects. However it does highlight the urgent need for ‘special category’ status to be conferred on Gateway Cities. The existing infrastructure cannot sustain the current level of development welcome as it may be.
How important is Sligo’s ‘Gateway’ status?Sligo's designation as a Gateway City under the National Spatial Strategy recognised Sligo as the largest urban centre and a natural capital for a large hinterland in the northwest. The rationale underpinning the Strategy was to achieve a better balance of social, economic, physical development and population growth between regions.
In terms of road network, the Strategy states 'Physical networks of infrastructure such as roads, public transport, energy and communications are of particular relevance to the National Spatial Strategy since they have a spatial impact and influence the location, timing and extent of development.'
To establish a threshold of 'critical mass' and achieve key development in terms of scale and function - Sligo requires special investment in relation to the Public Capital Programme.
The current level of public investment will not enable Sligo to achieve this critical mass. A special case must be made for priority funding for these new growth centres to government.
How significant was the opening of the Inner Relief Road in terms of Sligo’s transport infrastructure?The Regional Manager of IDA Ireland, Mr Joe McHugh, maintains that the delivery of Sligo's new Inner Relief Road 'will help to position Sligo as the premier economic gateway of the northwest region, re-affirming its status under the National Spatial Strategy.'
The location of the road, and its direct connections to car-parking areas, facilitates the pedestrianisation and enhancement of our city centre streets. In addition to alleviating traffic congestion, the new road will greatly enhance the urban environment and make Sligo a more pleasant and amenable environment for people to reside, work in or visit.
What is the status of Sligo’s other major roads projects?There are a number of major road projects in the pipeline in Sligo city and county. We are progressing the planning of the major primary routes, N4 and N15. A preferred route for the N15 was recently adopted by Sligo County Council and Sligo Borough Council. The N17 Tubbercurry by-pass is considered a priority by the National Roads Authority. Construction work is expected to start within two years.
Within the city, there is a plan to build a new western distributor road, known as 'the W2', to provide access to industrial and business parks to the west of the city from the Caltragh Interchange and there are also plans for a new eastern bridge across the Garavogue River.
Can you give a flavour of the work being carried out on Sligo’s road network?In 2006 over €24m was spent on the maintenance and improvement of the existing roads network and the planning of new roads. Some of the main projects were:
What improvements have been made to the non-national road network?Over E12m was allocated by the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government towards the maintenance and improvement of non-national roads in Sligo in 2006. The CLAR programme also assisted in the improvement of 34 projects in the current year.
The Road Restoration Programme is a very important element of our operations, and over €8.2m was invested in the upgrade of nonnational roads.
A very topical issue is road safety - how has Sligo County Council addressed it?Each year Sligo County Council carries out Low Cost Safety Improvement Works at selected locations. These locations are selected on the basis of accident statistics and consultations with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the National Roads Authority.
The overall objectives of the Low Cost Safety Improvement Scheme are:
The Council has also worked with the NRA, HSE and Gardai on our ‘Road Safety Together Committee’, and we have just published our Road Safety Plan setting out advice and information on Road Safety issues.
So a busy 2007 ahead for the Roads Department?We have a hectic programme of work ahead of us, as the delivery of our national roads programme underpins the continued growth and development of Sligo and the northwest.
- Road Widening on N59
© Sligo County Council,
County Hall, Riverside,
Sligo, Co. Sligo.