Thursday 17 August 2017

New bid to save €425m road that sank into bog

Motorway set to open by end of year

A section of the M7 near Newport in Co Tipperary, which collapsed earlier this year
A section of the M7 near Newport in Co Tipperary, which collapsed earlier this year

Kathryn Hayes

A MAJOR operation is under way to finish a section of a busy motorway after part of the road collapsed into a bog.

Road authorities last night confirmed that the final section of the Limerick to Nenagh bypass would be completed by the end of the year.

The €425m road -- which was due to open last year -- will link the Limerick southern ring road with the Nenagh bypass.

The construction of the 38km road from Annacotty to Nenagh, Tipperary, was contracted to Bothar Hibernian almost four years ago and was due for completion in May 2009.

Difficulties

However, the contractors ran into serious difficulties at Anaholty bog, where the almost-completed road collapsed earlier this year.

It is understood that thousands of steel-reinforced concrete piles were driven into the bog to support the sinking road.

But following the collapse of the road surface, a concrete and steel bridge is to be constructed over the entire area in the hope of establishing a stable base for the road.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) says the final section of the Limerick-to-Nenagh road will open by the end of the year.

"We are being reassured by the contractor that the project will be completed by the end of the year, but this is a design-built contract so any of the costs incurred due to difficulties with the Anaholty bog is borne by the contractor," an NRA spokesman said.

"We are obviously disappointed (with the delay) as we would liked to have seen the public benefit sooner, but obviously the contractor is dealing with a difficult situation." Limerick County Council said it was satisfied that the contractor was dealing with the difficulties as best it could.

But a spokesman for the council stressed that the contract company must itself address any difficulties that arise during the construction of the motorway.

"Under the terms of the contract between Limerick council and Bothar Hibernian, any issues arising from the construction of the motorway are to be addressed by the contractor in question," he said.

Irish Independent

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