Road signage is now in place along the new dual carriageway between Turlough and Castlebar. PHOTO: ALISON LAREDO

Taoiseach to officially open Mayo's new €300m. roadway in May

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will officially open the new N5 Westport to Turlough Road project on Thursday, May 4, The Connaught Telegraph has learned.

A sum of €241 million was approved in October 2019 for the 20.3 kilometre dual carriageway by a government led by Mr. Varadkar and, despite the onset of Covid-19, work commenced the following May following the awarding of the contract to a Wills-BAM joint venture.

The estimated cost on completion is expected to reach the €300 million mark.

Apart from the new Turlough to Westport roadway, the investment has resulted in the construction of a 2.5km single carriageway link to the N59 Westport to Mulranny national secondary road and a 2.3km upgrade of a section of the N59 at Barleyhill to Type 3 single carriageway standard, two rail bridges over the Westport to Dublin railway line, 11 overbridges, two underbridges, seven farm underpasses and six roundabouts.

Mayo TD Michael Ring was instrumental in pushing the project forward during his time as Minister for State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (2011-2016) and Minister for Rural and Community Development (2017-2020).

He told The Connaught Telegraph: "This has been the biggest investment in Mayo in the history of the State. The cynics said it would never happen but it has happened, although we have waited 25 years for it.

"And, as it turned out, the timing of the approval was crucial because, in my view, it would not have been sanctioned a year later when Green Party members were sitting at the cabinet table.

"I am very proud the development is now in place and a special work of thanks is due to Michael Nolan, a former chief executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, for his support."

Deputy Ring said the investment is 'a game changer for Mayo' and will herald the economic expansion of the towns of Castlebar and Westport, in particular, over the coming decade and beyond.

"There are already indications of this happening and the future looks very encouraging," he added.

The new road will open to traffic early next month and will be fully operational before the official opening date.