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Late 2022 still the target for completion of Killaloe Bypass

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Approved by An Bord Pleanála in early 2013, late 2022 is the envisaged completion date for the Killaloe Bypass.

As part of the proposed Killaloe Bypass, Shannon Bridge Crossing and R494 Improvement Scheme, a western bypass of Killaloe, a new bridge crossing of the River Shannon and an upgrade of the existing R494 regional road from Ballina to the N7 at Bridhill will all be provided. The entire scheme is approximately 6.2km and will cross the River Shannon approximately 1km to the south of the existing Killaloe Bridge and will cross the Kilmastulla River.

Following Oral Hearing in 2012, it was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanala in 2013 and the CPO was confirmed, the project was subsequently delayed through appeals made to The High Court and The Supreme Court. The most recent appeal to The Supreme Court, in November 2016, upheld the decision of The High Court allowing the project proceed towards the construction stage.

In summer 2018, RPS Consulting Engineers was commissioned to finalise the detailed design and prepare the tender documents. To complete detailed design, the necessary surveys, ground investigation, land agreements, bridge order, Technical approval, OPW approval are all being finalised.

Last January, €34m in funding was allocated to the project as part of the Government’s Capital Plan Review. Whitegate councillor, Pat Burke (FG) at the September meeting of the local authority queried, “Am I right in saying works are progressing slower than anticipated”.

A detailed design is currently being completed, senior executive engineer Sean Lenihan outlined that the tender pre-qualification process will begin by late 2019 then proceedings to tender proper in spring 2020. The Council expects to be in a position to award a contract in summer 2020, the awarding of same will be subject to DTTaS approval.

Cllr Burke raised the matter again at Wednesday’s meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District. Senior executive engineer, Tom Mellett had received no update from the Capital Projects Department in advance of the meeting while Director of Service, Anne Haugh stated, “There is approval in place to go ahead with the appointment of a contractor. It’s full steam ahead up until 2020”.

“I thought the successful contractor would be in place by now but it’s not going to happen by the end of the year. I’m meeting people on a weekly basis asking for an update on the Killaloe Bypass especially the people this side of the county  that are commuting into Limerick. It appears to be moving a bit slower than I was led to believe earlier in the year,” Cllr Burke said.

Fianna Fáil’s Tony O’Brien felt the sentiment expressed by Haugh should be the narrative sent out. “The message that has to go out here today is that it’s full steam ahead. There was a slight hiccup but the appointment of contractors will now be done by 2020”. He added “It will open up East Clare to tourism. It is full steam ahead and it is going ahead as planned. It would be wrong of us to send out any other message”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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