Work on the delayed €6m transformation and upgrade of historic Cork city quays could start early next year, it has been announced.
Cork City Council said detailed design of its “long-held vision to revive and regenerate” quays in the Morrison’s Island area is being finalised, and that it is intended to have a works contractor on site early next year.
It also released a new video showing more details of the scheme, including information on how tilt-up barriers concealed in the proposed South Mall plaza area will be raised during extreme tide tides to prevent flooding.
Delivery of the massive public realm upgrade, which will include inbuilt flood defences, was delayed last year after a legal challenge forced the local authority to submit a new planning application to An Bórd Pleanála.
The board eventually approved the project in June and said it will deliver significant benefits for the city.
In a statement, the city council said the way is now clear for work to start early next year along Morrison’s Quay and Fr Matthew Quay between Parliament Bridge and Parnell Bridge.
The upgraded streetscape will incorporate a wide riverside promenade, a much-improved setting for Holy Trinity Church, a plaza at the eastern end of the South Mall with blended in-built flood defences which will double as seating in places, and a redesigned Trinity Bridge.
Changes will be made to traffic movements along the quays, with a significant reduction in car parking space, and additional bicycle parking due to be provided.
The historic cut limestone quay walls will be refurbished, and access points to the river will be opened up.
The Morrison’s Island area is one of the most vulnerable parts of the city centre to tidal flooding.
The public realm and flood defence project has been designed to remove an estimated 80% of the flood threat to city centre businesses.
The public realm upgrade will be co-funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW) which is overseeing the larger Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme flood defence works elsewhere in the city centre.