Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD has officially opened the M17/M18 Gort to Tuam scheme. The Gort-Tuam Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme is one of three road PPP projects included in the Government’s Financial Stimulus Package 2012.
Speaking at the opening Minister Ross said: “This is my first major road opening as Minister for Transport so I am delighted that the M17/18 road scheme has been completed two months ahead of schedule and on budget. This new motorway is a huge boost for the western seaboard area. It will enhance employment opportunities, benefit tourism and help address traffic bottlenecks at Tuam, Claregalway, Oranmore, Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan and Gort. I look forward to using it.”
The Minister added; “In more good news there will be no tolls on the motorway.”
The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, also welcomed the opening of the motorway, which he noted had been delivered, by PPP, two months ahead of schedule saying: ‘Today’s opening of the M17/M18 Gort to Tuam PPP motorway marks yet another major milestone in the delivery of the Government’s PPP programme and represents a significant investment by the Government in national infrastructure in the west of Ireland. The new road will reduce journey times and increase safety while also representing a major step in enhancing regional connectivity in the West’.
The road will be of motorway standard from Gort to the Kilmore junction near Tuam (a distance of 53.2km) and a dual carriageway type 2 cross section from the Kilmore roundabout to the Mountpotter roundabout north of Tuam (a distance of 4.2km).
The overall scheme value is €550 million.
Michael Nolan CEO of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) said: “Todays’ opening marks a significant milestone for TII in delivering on our remit to provide a safe and efficient network of national roads. The M17/M18 Gort to Tuam motorway enhances connectivity along the Atlantic corridor and also provides a strategic national link across the country through the M6 Rathmorrissy junction.”
The former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, turned the sod on the Gort to Tuam scheme on 9th May 2014 and the scheme is now open after just over three years of construction by the Direct Route Consortium.
A charity cycle event organised by Tuam and Gort Lions Clubs took place along the whole route including the Tuam Bypass dual carriageway on the 10th September 2017.