Tuesday 24 October 2017

Farmers land millions for road

Council pays out €37.7m in compulsory acquisitions on bypass route

Gordon Deegan

PAYMENTS to farmers along the next phase of the Atlantic Corridor have created six new millionaires.

The payments by Galway County Council to six landowners are part of a €37.7m bonanza for farmers along the route of the Gort-Crusheen bypass.

The payments for the compulsory acquisition of land are confirmed in Freedom of Information (FOI) documents released by the council yesterday concerning the €207.5m road scheme. Work is expected to be completed on the 23km dual-carriageway later this year and the route will bypass the south Galway town of Gort and the Clare village of Crusheen. This follows the by-passing of Ennis and Newmarket-on-Fergus on the N18.

Landowner

The figures from the county council show that €5.3m was paid by the council to one landowner.

The landowner received more than three times the next highest amount of €1.7m -- another landowner received €1.4m and two others received €1.1m. One other received €1m.

In total, the figures show that the council paid €37.7m to 49 landowners along the route of the road with 16 receiving between €500,000 and €1m and an additional 27 receiving between €250,000 and €500,000.

As the lead agency in the project, the council has compulsorily acquired almost 500 acres of land contained in 103 farms along the 23km route that involved the severance of 845 acres of farmland. Work commenced on the project in 2008 and the FOI documents show that the contractor, SIAC Wills, was aiming to have the road complete more than one year ahead of schedule.

The documentation shows that the scheme contract is not due to be complete until August 10, 2011.

However, the contractor's programme reveals that it was aiming to have the project complete by July 16 next.

The document reveals, however, that surfacing on the route is 18 weeks behind the original programme and 12 weeks behind in volume terms.

The documentation confirms that on April 30 last, the project was 73pc complete.

Meeting

The documentation states: "The projected completion date on the revised programme is given as April 2011, however, this includes an effective suspension of works over the winter period."

Senior engineer with Clare County Council, Tom Tiernan, told a recent meeting that the council has been told that the works could be complete this autumn.

Up until April 30, SIAC Wills was paid €70.8m including VAT on the scheme.

The documentation also reveals that consultants working on the project have received €10m to date with Jacobs Ireland receiving €7.1m and Irish Archaeological Consultancy receiving €2.2m.

The road scheme commences at the northern end of the Ennis bypass and extends to approximately 1km north of Gort, bypassing the villages of Crusheen and the town of Gort.

Irish Independent

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