Monday 27 May 2019

Ross bypass to open in summer 2019

David Looby

The New Ross Bypass will not be open to traffic until the summer of next year.

The opening date of the bypass was due to be April 2019, as outlined in a press release from builders BAM Dragados and Iridium in mid-2016, shortly after works began. The latest update from Wexford County Council is that works will now not be completed until the summer.

New Ross Bypass Project Liaison Officer Sean Dobbs said: 'The project is currently in month 31 of the construction programme and overall approximately 75 per cent of the works are now complete. The PPP company advises that the project is currently anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2019.'

Mr Dobbs said the design and construction of the River Barrow Bridge is a complex engineering challenge of global proportions 'but notwithstanding this the bridge construction is progressing well and is now at a particularly interesting phase, with the bridge deck launched over the river and the pylon towers commenced'.

He said: 'All parties involved in the project are fully committed and working together to ensure that the project is completed safely and opened to traffic at the earliest opportunity to realise the benefits that the project will bring to New Ross and the wider region. The complex design and construction of the River Barrow Bridge brings many engineering challenges, and the project is engaging teams of leading engineers on a local, national and global scale to meet these challenges. No major critical issues of concern have arisen with the construction of either the bridge works or road works.'

Nearly 1.5 million man hours have been worked on the project to date without major health and safety incidents or accidents. The Total Scheme Budget is €230 million for the construction of the project and its operation and maintenance for 25 years after opening.

350 people working on site at present. Limited and confined night time works are in operation for the construction of the main bridge deck span, Mr Dobbs said.

'Approximately ten to 12 staff are working in shifts. Night works are confined to mainly manual operations (such as steel fixing) and no site deliveries or heavy plant are in operation.'

New Ross District Director Eamonn Hore remains confident that the bypass will be open to traffic in quarter two (between April 1 and June 30), of next year. Describing the project as unprecedented because of the engineering processes involved in constructing the 887m span bridge, Mr Hore said: 'It will be seen in an international context. It's unprecedented in the whole of Ireland. It has already won an international engineering silver medal award.'

Describing criticism of a possible delay in the project as 'a little unfair', Mr Hore said: 'The winter will tell the story. The heights the cranes are working at means that if it's a dreadful winter there will be an issue with the works going ahead and if we have a very fine winter who knows.'

New Ross Standard