The final phase of a revamp of one of Cork’s most historic streets is poised to start almost four years after the bulk of the work finished.
City Hall has confirmed that following a meeting between council engineers and the ESB, a “series of actions” have been agreed in relation to the installation of street lights along Barrack Street and the removal of overhead wires. The work could take until July to complete.
The meeting arose after the ESB identified “areas of concern” in relation to underground ducting for electrical cables which were installed as part of the Barrack Street revamp.
The project, which was unveiled in 2011, saw a complete overhaul of the streetscape, with new, widened footpaths and road pavement installed, improved road drainage, new street furniture, and upgraded pedestrian crossing points, after which the road was made one-way city-bound.
New public lighting and underground ducting was also proposed and while the main revamp was complete by 2015, the street lighting was never finished after concerns about the ducting.
It led to the withholding of certain payments by the city council to the contractor involved pending a resolution.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Sean Martin asked officials for an update last week on recent contacts between City Hall and the ESB on the issues.
In a reply, the council’s director of services in roads and transportation, Gerry O’Beirne, said the way is now cleared for the remaining work to take place.
A detailed survey identified about 80-metres of ducting where some remediation work will be required before the ESB is happy to install its network cables. This work could take up to three weeks. These areas will be marked over the next week or so before the need for road closure is considered.
“If a road closure is required, Cork City Council agreed to process the application in order to facilitate the commencement of work on Tuesday, March 19,” Mr O’Beirne said.
The ESB has agreed to avail of the road closure to install its network cables and remove as much of the old overhead network as possible.
The ESB will prioritise the removal of the old overhead cables and old street light poles, and install the new underground network as soon as the remediation work is complete. This work could take 12 weeks.
Mr Martin welcomed the agreement and said: “Hopefully we will see an end to the street revamp project within a few months. And hopefully lessons will have been learned from this. We can’t have something like this going on for years on end.”