N17 Milltown to Gortnagunned Realignment
The proposed N17 Milltown to Gortnagunned Realignment Project comprises of 3km realignment of National Road and all ancillary works. It consists of a Type 1 single carriageway with a fully segregated cyclist/pedestrian facility along the entire length, located north of Milltown in Co. Galway. The Project is located entirely within County Galway and extends between the townlands of Milltown, Cartron, Cloonnacross, Gortnaloura, Drum and Gortnagunned located immediately North West of Milltown Co. Galway.
Objectives for the Proposed Road Realignment
The objectives for the proposed scheme are a specific local implementation of the government’s overarching transport objectives (Economy, Environment, Safety, Integration, Accessibility & Social Inclusion and Physical Activity).
The objective for the N17 Milltown to Gortnagunned scheme, are in accordance with guidance provided in TII PAG Unit 12.0 – Minor Projects (€5m - €20m)
- to reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability on the road transport system;
- to remedy capacity deficiencies and reduce absolute journey times and journey time variance;
- to improve internal road transport infrastructure between regions and within regions;
- to improve safety for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists along both the national road network and the surrounding road network;
- to reduce the collision rate along the national road network to below the national average rate;
- to improve road drainage system and quality of water run off through applications of SUDS;
- to contribute to the competitiveness of the productive sector and foster balanced regional development;
- to facilitate better access to and from the main ports and airports with the main objective of offsetting the negative effects of peripherality;
- to contribute to sustainable transport policies, facilitating continued economic growth and regional development while ensuring a high level of environmental protection; and
- to help achieve the objectives of the Government’s Road Safety Strategy in relation to the reduction in fatalities and serious injuries caused by road accidents.
Need for the Proposed Road Development
Planning and Development
In terms of planning, the strategic and national need for the proposed road development is supported within many national, regional and local policy documents and plans including: -
- Ireland 2040 Our Plan - National Planning Framework;
- Ireland 2040 – National Development Plan 2018 – 2027;
- Our Sustainable Future – A Framework of Sustainable Development for Ireland;
- National Cycle Policy Framework;
- Strategic Framework on Investment in Land Transport (SFILT);
- Smarter Travel a Sustainable Transport Future;
- Galway County Development Plan 2015 - 2021; and
- Regional Planning Guidelines for the West Region 2010 – 2022
Deficiencies of the Existing Route
The overall length of existing N17 proposed development is approx. 3km. It consists of both rural and urban sections. The existing road cross section is sub-standard for a 100km/h speed limit. The average lane widths in each direction are approximately 3.0m with no hard shoulder, little or no hard strip, limited verge space and unforgiving roadsides. This makes it unsuitable for use by non-motorised users (pedestrians and cyclists).
These factors, individually and in combination, lead to traffic delay, particularly during peak periods. It is estimated that the proposed road development will generate a journey time saving and increase road safety.
The proposed realignment will provide Type 1 single carriageway cross section consisting of a 12.3m paved carriageway with a fully segregated cyclist/pedestrian facility along the entire length of the scheme.
Given the volumes and composition of the existing N17 traffic, the inadequate cross-section along most of the rural sections of road poses a safety risk to all road users, including vulnerable road users. Those with direct access onto the route and those taking access from the local road network in many cases have deficient sight visibility. Pedestrians and cyclists using the route are exposed to safety risks due to the inadequacies of the existing route.
The proposed road development includes 3.0km online/offline realignment upgrade works along the existing N17 to include 7No junction upgrades with local roads to tie-in with the proposed realignment. This includes the provision of footpaths/cycleways, improvements to junction sightlines and provision of public lighting. These works will address the deficiencies outlined above.
The horizontal and vertical alignments of the existing road provide a stopping and passing sight distance that is completely inadequate for the permitted maximum speed limits over much of the route.
The junctions between the local roads and the existing N17 are frequently of poor standard in respect of road width, layout and visibility for vehicles on both the major and minor arms. The high frequency of road junctions and private accesses along rural sections of the N17 give rise to safety problems. These are exacerbated by the composition of traffic involved, comprising a mix of slow and fast-moving vehicles and is further compounded by the generally sub-standard cross-section.
The N17 road forms the main street through Milltown and carries approximately 9,300 vehicles per day including over 400 heavy goods vehicles. This leads to a range of conflicts between locally generated traffic, national through traffic, pedestrian and vehicular traffic. It is estimated that the volume of heavy goods vehicles will have reached approx. 680 vehicles by design year 2039 and light vehicles will have reached approx. 10,650 vehicles.
Along the existing N17 there are eight at-grade priority junctions with the local road network, five of which are in rural locations with the remaining three located within the 80km/h speed limit zone. Many of these junctions are substandard in relation to alignment and/or layout geometry.
In addition to the public road junctions, there are sixty-four (64) access points including houses and agricultural field accesses onto the N17 within the study area. Each of these represents a potential road safety hazard and significantly reduces the capacity of the existing road.
Implementation of the proposed road development will lead to a significant reduction in road traffic accidents.
General Description of the Proposed Development
The main elements of the proposed road development include the following:
- 3.0km of mainline upgrade;
- 1.20km of farm/ accommodation roads;
- 0.7km of local roads upgrade;
- 3.8km approximately of footway/cycleway;
- Fencing, Drainage and Landscaping Works;
- Environmental Mitigation Measures;
- Utilities and Service Diversion Works;
- Public lighting will be provided along the proposed footway/cycleway in the Urban area from the N17 Store towards Milltown tying in with existing public lightening;
- Accommodation Works; and All other ancillary Works.