'Bottomless' bog delays road plan
A MAJOR road will not be opened until the end of this year -- more than 15 months behind schedule -- because of a 'bottomless' bog.
The Limerick-Nenagh N7 dual carriageway was due to have been completed in May of last year, but the National Roads Authority (NRA) said it would not be finished until the end of this year because of unforeseen delays.
The 38km route will cost the taxpayer €424m, but the cost of having to construct the route over a seemingly endless bog near the Limerick-Tipperary border will have to be borne by the contractors Bothar Hibernian.
It is understood that tens of thousands of steel-reinforced concrete piles have been driven into Drominboy Bog at Lisnagry to support the road at a cost of millions of euro.
Only a small section of the route traverses the bog, which locals claim is "bottomless".
Local tales include heavy machinery being swallowed by the bog, which is able to absorb huge amounts of rain.
As a result, Sean O'Neill of the NRA said the final 15km of the road would not be completed until the end of the year. He said the problems presented by the rural bog were "the major engineering challenge".
"The contractor has to deal with that implication," Mr O'Neill said.
"There is a challenge in the bog area, but that is a known condition. It's not like the bog showed up yesterday. We defer to the contractor as it's their responsibility to get the job done."
Mr O'Neill said that the NRA anticipated that major sections of the route would be open by March.
The project consists of 28km motorway standard and the widening of the Nenagh bypass to dual carriageway standard.
The route, which is hoped will ease traffic congestions in the Mid-West region, has been hindered in recent years over payments to local contractors, staff lay-offs and engineering challenges.