Watch: ‘Significant progress’ on €16m Bandon flood relief plan

A decision by a contractor in a major infrastructure scheme in West Cork to “keep the public informed” of its progress has been lauded by a TD as the way forward.

Work is ongoing on the flood relief scheme on the River Bandon.

Civil engineering contractors Wills Bros Ltd has reported “significant progress” on a €16m flood relief scheme in Bandon.

The company is confident of continued progress in a scheme which involves the construction of new walls and embankments along the tidal Bandon River, the replacement of an old arched footbridge with a new single-span structure along with the underpinning of Bandon Bridge, and the construction of a rock ramp for fish passage.

The scheme involves excavating or dredging of the river for some 3.5km, from O’Driscoll’s Bridge at Curranure upstream to Bandon Bridge, and to a depth of 1.6m to help increase capacity in the river.

With residents and businesses having experienced three devastating floods since 2009, the contractor, along with the OPW and Cork County Council, is planning monthly planning clinics to keep an anxious public updated on the scheme’s progress.

The open public information meetings will be held on the last Tuesday of each month, between 6pm and 7.30pm, at the Connolly St works site.

Bandon-based TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony said it was a welcome move by the three parties to keep communication lines open with the public.

“Many people will continue to live in fear of another flood disaster until the works are completed,” she said.

“The town has been held hostage to the elements for many years and the increasing progress with the works helps ease many of those fears.

“I think it’s hats off to the parties involved to commence information clinics which are of great importance, locally. So far, the contractors have progressed with the least disruption to residents and businesses and thousands of vehicles, on a daily basis, on the main routes to and from Cork City and West Cork.

“As a town councillor, county councillor, and TD, I have always believed it’s important to keep the public up to date and the contractors have to be lauded for treating locals with respect in that regard. It’s the way forward for contractors involved in all major scheme and it also demonstrates their confidence in continuing to make good progress.”

River channel dredging and rock armour defences are being developed along the river banks in the town centre with fishery restoration works due to commence downstream in the vicinity of O’Driscoll’s.

Works will include installation of pools and gravel shoals to provide fish habitats and the creation of a fish pass. The installation of culverts at Moanarone are due to start next week. Extensive archaeology uncovered upstream of Bandon bridge is being examined — it may be part of the original town wall.

Meanwhile, planning permission has been approved for the Bandon Waste Water Treatment Plant. In the event of no objections, Irish Water may shortly seek tenders for construction.

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