LOCAL COMMUTERS FACE MAJOR DISRUPTION
Flood relief works, due to begin on Fermoy bridge on Monday week next, January 18, means that traffic will be restricted to one lane and operated on a stop and go system for the 13 week duration of the project. The works on the bridge, which involve diverting the existing services crossing the Fermoy bridge to facilitate the construction of the new demountable barrier which will be erected on the north side of the bridge in the eventuality of a flood, is expected to cause major disruption for motorists.
“The services will be diverted into two sealed chambers as part of the works. The services involved are Cork County Council water mains, broadband cables, storm and sewer drains, eircom phone and Internet lines, ESB power and street lighting cables and Bord Gais gas mains.
"Once these services have been safely diverted, steel sheet piles will be driven into the ground and a concrete beam shall also be constructed to accommodate the new demountable wall which can be erected as required in times of flood,” a press release from contractors Carillion Irish Enco states.
STOP AND GO
The local town council, gardai, OPW and contractors have worked together to come up with a solution to minimise the motorists’ inconvenience, and, so far, it can only be said with certainty that gardai will be on duty to ease the traffic flow.
During the day a stop and go system will be in place, while temporary traffic lights will operate from 7pm in the evening. Motorists who do not necessarily need to go through the town are being asked to either bypass the town or take the bypass road to come into the town.
Negotiations with Direct Route are currently ongoing as to the possibility of the toll being lifted at various times of the day. Further details of the options available are expected to be made available in the upcoming weeks.
“Carillion Irish Enco wishes to thank the people of Fermoy for their cooperation with the project to date and apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused as a result of these works. While the inconvenience need only be endured once – the benefits shall be enjoyed for the foreseeable future,” states the contractor in the press release.
Gardai are appealing to motorists to “use alternative routes and not to use the town for the duration of the work. Be patient. It is not going to be an ideal situation. We’ll constantly review the traffic management and if we find stuff that’s amiss, we’ll make changes,” a garda spokesperson said.
Interruptions could also be experienced to the services that need to be diverted for the relief works to be possible - Phone and broadband lines, water mains, etc. However, assurances have been given that most of the works on those services will be taking place during the night to minimise the inconvenience and disruption of services.
The mayor, Noel McCarthy, acknowledged that the traffic management will be challenging, but said, “We have to say to people it has to happen; it is going to happen; be aware of it; cooperate fully with the gardai and local authorities and still shop local. Take a few minutes extra. Leave earlier to drop off your kids to school or when you go to work.”
Cllr Tadhg O’Donovan said, “A commitment should be given here. There will be 13 weeks of enormous inconvenience, He highlighted “the importance of having regular bulletins” to reiterate the commitment.
“The liaising with the press has to be continued. I am looking for reassurance that it will continue,” he said.
A newsletter updating the public on the current situation and the upcoming works is now available at Fermoy Town Hall and garda station and will also be distributed to the residents and businesses of the areas most affected by the works.
Phase 1 of the project, costing in the region of €10m, once complete, is expected to protect the north side of the town from any future floods. Phase two and three of the project, namely the southern side, is currently being designed, and work should start before the end of the year.
Although guarantees have been given that funding would be made available, Cllr O’Donovan pointed out, “While minister has agreed to the scheme, there isn’t any financial provision for phase two. That’s the bottom line.”
Friday 8th January 10:24am