Two major flood prevention schemes, costing a combined €22m, are to get under way in Co Cork within a couple of weeks.
It’s expected a contractor will be appointed for the Bandon scheme within days and work on it will start by mid-July.
Minister of State Seán Canney, who has special responsibility for flood relief works with the OPW, will be in Skibbereen today for the contract signing with Jons Civil Engineering Ltd who are expected to start work there by the end of this month.
It will take anything between 24 and 30 months to complete both schemes.
Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) said the €10m Bandon scheme will consist of a combination of flood defences, including dredging of the river bed.
New flood defences will also be constructed to contain flood water within the Bandon and Bridewell River, as well as the Mill Stream.
“Around 3.5km of the river will be dredged to a depth of 1.8 metres. This work can only be done between the months of May to September,” Mr Coleman said.
It’s estimated that approximately 150,000 cubic metres of material is to be dredged in the planned scheme.
The scheme also includes the creation of a new fish pass and counter at Bandon Weir and a provision of new fish passes at the Mill Stream and the Bridewell River confluences with the Bandon River.
Other work include an underpinning of Bandon Bridge and a replacement of the pedestrian bridge with a new pedestrian bridge.
Bandon has suffered considerably from flooding in recent years and the project was previously held up when there was a threat of legal action surrounding the awarding of a previous contract.
“I hope now there will not be a repeat of this because the people of Bandon can’t afford to wait any longer for the works to begin,” Mr Coleman said.
In contrast to Bandon, there will not be a significant amount of river dredging in Skibbereen.
The OPW says the scheme there has been designed to provide a 200-year flood event protection for 179 homes and 131 commercial properties.
Skibbereen suffered from two big floods in 2009, when many houses and businesses were severely damaged.
In the past five years there had been six near misses where another two hours’ rain, spring tide, or change in wind direction could have had further severe consequences.
Skibbereen has suffered from 21 significant floods between 1943 and 2009.
The flood defence works will include the construction of new walls, earthen embankments, replacement of old culverts and construction of new culverts, plus the construction of surface water pumping stations.
Around 4.2km of embankment will be built plus 2.9km of flood walls.
Works to be carried out along the River Ilen include embankments, flood walls and a localised channel. A flood wall is to be built downstream from Kennedy Bridge. The scheme also includes flood prevention work on three streams flowing through Skibbereen – the Caol, Assolas and Glencurragh.
A pump station is to be built on the Glencurragh at the north side of the Schull Road and embankments and a culvert draining into the Ilen will be installed in the Showgrounds area.
“The project manager and his staff are already on site and Joan Dineen will act as the council’s liaison officer for the project,” Mr Coleman said.
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