An Bord Pleanála has issued a new date for when it expects to make a decision on the Galway City Ring Road application after it was delayed once again.
The higher planning authority is now saying that it expects to make a decision on the Ring Road by August 27, after a previous date had been set for this week.
The planning process for the 18km bypass was significantly slowed down last year, when the Oral Hearing which got underway in February was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before later moving online.
The route will connect the M6 motorway near the Coolagh roundabout to the village of Barna with a 12km stretch of dual carriageway, and 6km of single carriageway.
The ambitious proposal will also involve the digging of two tunnels as well as the construction of a viaduct and new bridge across the Corrib at Dangan.
More than 500 Compulsory Purchase Orders have been, or will be issued to landowners as part of this project.
It will involve the demolition of 44 houses to make way for the road along its route, which has attracted heavy opposition from landowners.
The figure of approximately €600 million has been floated as the estimated price of the N6 Ring Road for some time. But last month Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said that real cost would likely end up being far higher.
Answering Deputy Noel Grealish in the Dáil on May 25, he said that the cost of road projects tend to be significantly higher than originally estimated.
“Transport Infrastructure Ireland is trying to avoid that eventuality by setting pricing estimates that take into account all eventualities. However, we are still likely to see a higher cost in this area.”
Adrian Curran, of the Galway PBP branch said that he was concerned that the project would end up as a “billion euro white elephant”.
The project has been deeply polarising, with supporters saying that it will take traffic out of Galway City, widely regarded as possibly the most congested in Ireland.
Opponents argue that building more roads will only encourage more car travel, and that the time and money should instead be invested in sustainable travel alternatives.