It was announced on 19th May 2014 that funding of €2.85 million had been approved for the upgrading of Sligo‘s Michael Hughes Bridge, thereby making it a 6 lane dual-carriageway, with new 3-metre wide cantilever pedestrian footbridges on either side of the dual carriageway.
Work started on the project in December 2014 and is expected to last until July 2015.
The works, which involved the widening of the bridge, caused long delays to traffic on the approaches to the bridge, especially at peak times.
The Inner Relief Road and the Michael Hughes Bridge have been a critical part of the infrastructure of Sligo Town for over 20 years, though it has also become a major bottleneck during peak traffic hours in both directions, but particularly in the southerly direction, as the bridge isn’t able to handle the amount of traffic using it.
A report published by Engineers Ireland early last year stated that transport infrastructure in Sligo and Leitrim is inadequately maintained, and as such, it is unable to meet peak demand and needs investment.
The report, titled ‘The State of Ireland 2014 – a review of transport in the North West’ stated that Sligo is highly dependent on its road infrastructure, as 96% of journeys in the region are by road.
The project, which was approved by the National Roads Authority will see the widening of Hughes Bridge to a six lane structure with the provision of pedestrian footbridges over the Bundoran Road.
The report also called for the N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin road development to be advanced through the planning process. The scheme, which is for a four-lane dual-carriageway, is designed to improve a notoriously dangerous stretch of the main N4 road which has claimed the lives of numerous people over the past 25 years.