It was recently announced that The National Roads Authority has approved a major road improvement scheme which will see the widening of Hughes Bridge to six lanes and the provision of pedestrian footbridges on either side of the road – but that it could be another six years before the project is started.

Whilst it was announced on this website some weeks ago that the preliminary planning process for the multi million euro scheme has already begun, it will be at least 2010 before that stage of the process is complete, and only then can the design and construction process begin, meaning it could be at least 2014 before the project would actually be completed.

Traffic congestion along the Inner Relief Road and the approach to Hughes Bridge has become a major problem over the past year, so much so that Sligo County Council has called on the National Roads Authority to front-load the Hughes Bridge section of the scheme in the hope that it will ease the traffic congestion.

The traffic congestion from a southerly direction is mainly confined to the morning rush hour around 8.30am until 9.30am, at which times traffic is frequently backed up from the traffic lights at the Upper John Street / Church Hill junction, way back to the Caltragh interchange, leaving people stranded for up to 20 minutes.

Traffic from a northerly direction is a different matter altogether, with long queues of traffic forming at all hours of the day and night, the waiting time to get through the traffic isn’t as bad in this direction, but with 30,000 vehicles going across Hughes Bridge on a daily basis, with only one official lane on Hughes Bridge for all the traffic coming from the Cartron, Bundoran Road direction, its easy to see why there is so much traffic chaos.

Some easing of the traffic congestion would come about as a result of a widening of the Hughes Bridge to six lanes, with a proposed finish date not being expected before 2014 it looks like the long suffering motorist shall have to suffer for a while longer.

Meanwhile on the Eastern side of Sligo Town, it was revealed recenly that a decision is expected by Sligo County Council from An Bord Pleanala by the end of 2008 on the proposed Eastern Road Bridge which will link the Doorly Park area with Ballinode.

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