NUI Galway has described as very disappointing news that a major new traffic corridor will cut through its hurling pitch and adjacent sports training area.

The university received correspondence today from Galway County Council in respect of the preferred route for the new roadway under the N6 Galway City Transport project.

The new route will be brought through the university’s sports grounds at Dangan.

Land and homeowners along the proposed route were informed about the plans by post.

The N6 Galway Transport Project aims to ease driving conditions in Galway city and assist the flow of traffic to and from Connemara and the western suburbs.

The so-called "emerging preferred corridor" has been chosen after six possible routes were put on public display earlier this year.

It involves the construction of a dual carriageway from the end of the M6 as far as the existing N59, with the route continuing by single lane to a termination point west of the village of Bearna.

The proposed route takes in significant parts of the blue and pink options that were put before locals during a public consultation process, but today's design has a number of variations to the original plan.

The road would commence with a new interchange at the end of the M6 and involve a section of tunnel on the approach to Galway Racecourse.

It runs westwards towards the Corrib - with a second section of tunnel en route - and crosses the river on a new bridge that will bring the road onto the northern end of the existing NUI Galway campus at Dangan.

The road would traverse NUIG lands on a viaduct before veering towards the Bushy Park area and continuing to Bearna.

Planners say the proposed route does not impact on habitats that are protected under EU law.

A previous effort to construct a bypass of the city was abandoned in 2013 after rulings that it would have environmental implications.

The new road would have a number of junctions to facilitate traffic merging onto existing routes out of Galway.

These include links with the N17 and the N59, as well as a spur from the western suburbs aimed at alleviating congestion in the heavily populated Knocknacarra area.

The National Transport Authority and Galway County Council are to devise a public transport plan for the city, which would be implemented in line with the route.

The local authority says that the planned development would take a considerable volume of traffic out of the city and so allow for an enhanced bus network on existing roads. 

Around 45 homeowners would be impacted by the plans.

Along with landowners on the proposed route, they were due to receive maps and letters this morning, as well as invitations to individual consultations with planners to discuss the project further.

Galway County Council - the lead agency for the project - says it has been designed to be robust enough to withstand any possible challenge.

It hopes to be in a position to submit a planning application early next year and to start construction by 2017.

There has been a concerted campaign of opposition to the plans since the six route options were unveiled in February.

More than 1,000 submissions were made as part of the public consultation process.

As well as residents along the routes, the Chamber of Commerce and NUI Galway have been steadfast in their opposition to a route that goes close to the city centre.

Other opponents say the potential for a public transport solution has not been fully examined.

NUIG said the new route cuts through the college's existing hurling pitch and through the most highly used training area adjacent to the Sports Pavilion, where the university has planning permission for a floodlit synthetic facility.

It has described the news as a "very disappointing outcome", and indicated that it will be examining all its options to protect its strategic interests in the area. 

NUIG said the impact on Dangan, and for years of planning and investment will be very significant if the route is successful.

The university  is among around 45 home and landowners who will  be affected by the proposed route and Galway County council says it will begin liasing with them for a period of time starting next Monday 11 May until 22 May.

A series of consultations with the public will begin on 25 May.