Traffic in Galway City is more than 40% higher now than it was during the same period of the first lockdown in 2020 according to the latest figures.
Data from Transport Infrastructure Ireland shows that in the first two days of this week, traffic levels on Bothar na dTreabh, one of the busiest routes in Galway City were 41-42% higher than on the same dates last year.
The TII recorded 3,446 cars passing on Bothar na dTreabh between 7am and 10am on Tuesday, two percent more than the same day last week, but 29% lower than in 2019.
The number of cars on the N6 Bothar na dTreabh is now only 8% lower than before the country went back into Level 3 restrictions last October in response to the second wave of COVID-19.
Galway traffic last week were also elevated compared with the same dates during the first lockdown, though not to the same level as this week.
On the three days last week where a year on year comparison was available, traffic levels on Bothar na dTreabh were 23-29% higher than this time last year.
One of the big differences between early morning traffic now and during the first lockdown is schools being open.
Schools were ordered to close on March 12 of 2020, initially for a two week period, but then extended onwards as the pandemic continued to set in.
In comparison, this month has seen a phased return of pupils to schools, starting with Leaving Cert, and now all special and primary school children are also back in the classroom, which will naturally add a significant number of morning car journeys.
A full lockdown had also not been introduced at this point in 2020, with non-essential and businesses not ordered to close until the end of March last year.
The TII has seen a significant increase in the number of cars on all of the fifteen major routes it has been monitoring since the start of the pandemic, with seven roads recording level 40% or more higher than in the first lockdown.