Cloongullane Bridge.

New Cloongullane bridge works set to start in early 2021

A CONTRACTOR has been chosen for a new bridge and road works on the Swinford-Ballina bottleneck at Cloongullane.

Confirmation of their appointment and subsequent commencement of works on the project is imminent from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The project at Cloongullane Bridge includes 1.8km of Type 2 single carriageway road, an 83m single span bridge over the River Moy SAC, two new culverts over tributaries of the river, and local road realignment.

Works are expected to begin early next year, Foxford-based Councillor Neil Cruise has confirmed.

Paul Hyland, acting head of roads in Mayo County Council, gave an update on the project at a recent meeting of the council's Roads Strategic Policy Committee.

Cloongullane Bridge has had a long and colourful history. It is part of the N26 scheme extending from Mount Falcon to Swinford, N5 extending from Bohola to Ballyvary realignment, and new N58 road from O’Hara’s bakery to Ballyvary, that was refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) in February 2010.

Explained Councillor Cruise: “A key part of ABP’s recommendation on refusal of the scheme submitted in 2010 was that any subsequent submission for this roads bundle should only include one new river crossing within the River Moy SAC. Consequently, councillors agreed to take the Cloongullane project out of this roads bundle and concentrate on replacing this vital piece of infrastructure.”

There have been delays due to environmental concerns in relation to alluvial woodlands and freshwater pearl mussels. However, the scheme was granted permission, the CPO for the scheme is virtually completed, and the project was put out to tender earlier this year.

A contractor has been chosen, he said, and confirmation of their appointment and subsequent commencement of works on the project is now imminent from TII.

Said Councillor Cruise: “From a standing start in 2011, this project is now on the cusp of realisation.”

He explained how at the moment, local road improvements are taking place on the N26. The significant works are taking place on the Foxford side near the junction of the N26 at Renbrack as far as the bad bends before Cloongullane Bridge along with the stretch after the bends leaving Cloongullane Bridge as far as Swinford town.

On the new bridge works, he said the commencement of physical works, probably in early 2021, 'will be the realisation of many years of effort by many on this project'.

“I firmly believe that the price tag of €12 million is value for money. This project will bring many opportunities to both the Ballina and Claremorris/Swinford districts and citizens and visitors to north and east Mayo.”