Thursday 18 October 2018

Town traders hanging in there

Work restrictions to be put in place in lead up to Christmas

Sorcha Crowley

Traders around Sligo town are just about "hanging in there" as the Irish Water Roadworks finally start winding up.

Speaking off the record, most traders have admitted their October and November takings "are way down" because shoppers are avoiding town due to the Sligo Water Mains and Sewer Rehabilitation project ongoing since September.

They will welcome the news that by agreement with Sligo County Council works restrictions are being put in place to minimise disruption in the lead up to Christmas along some of the core city centre streets.

Irish Water said late yesterday (Monday) that "pipe laying works have been substantially completed along Bridge Street with final road reinstatement works due for completion within the next two to three weeks."

Pipe laying works along Union Street and Stephen Street are both programmed for completion by mid November and by the end of November on Connolly Street.

Between now and the end of the year further pipe laying works are programmed to be undertaken along Lower Knox Street, Lower Quay Street, Quay Street, Holborn Hill and Cemetery Road areas.

Some traders said not enough breaks were placed along the pedestrian barriers on O'Connell Street - there is only one break between the Post Office end and the traffic lights half way down O'Connell Street.

"They didn't make it easy for shoppers to get in," one trader told The Sligo Champion.

Traders in general felt there are two much roadworks being carried out at once around the town.

Hope was expressed however that once O'Connell Street is finally finished and refurbished it will improve footfall and takings within the county's main street.

While most traders admitted their business had been damaged in the last few months, they accepted the work has to be done for the overall benefit of the town.

Over 65 per cent of the project which will benefit local homes and businesses is complete with all pipe laying works on target for completion by May 2018.

Irish Water, working in partnership with Sligo County Council and Contractors Ward & Burke Ltd, thanked the businesses, residents and shoppers in Sligo City for their "continued patience and co-operation while the project progresses."

The water main works represent a €6.8 million investment by Irish Water in Sligo.

The company said it "will ensure an improved supply to all customers by reducing leakage and bursts. The project will also deliver financial savings over the medium and long term through reduced maintenance costs associated with the upgraded pipeline."

Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Cllr Seamus Kilgannon said the roadworks will "help the capacity of the local water main network, and is hugely significant in terms of our ability to develop the town."

Over the months of September and October works have been completed in Upper Pearse Road, Cleveragh Road, John Street, Castle Street, Old Market Street, Ash Lane and Duck Street. In early 2018 remaining pipe laying is programmed to commence along Wine Street and in the outlying Fatima Avenue area off Cemetery Road. This will bring to a conclusion all principal works under the Ward & Burke contract.

Sligo County Council along with the contractor will continue to liaise with An Garda Siochana to implement traffic management plans so as to minimise traffic disruption.

The overall project involves the replacement and rehabilitation of approximately 8.7km of ageing water mains, the installation of 1.5km of foul and storm sewers in the Pearse Road area and the replacement of all service connections including any lead services encountered.

Irish Water is committed to reducing network leakage to less than 38% by 2021 and this investment will help the utility to meet this target.

The separate O'Connell Street Sewer Rehabilitation project being undertaken by Carty Contractors Ltd, is progressing well with the street now re-open to daytime traffic flows. Night time closures, necessary to complete the remaining works, are expected to be lifted by November 21.

All these projects in Sligo form part of Irish Water's investment plan. Works have been prioritised to address the most critical issues in line with commitments outlined in Irish Water's recently published Business Plan. Delivery of the business plan will involve a €5.5 billion investment in capital spending on drinking water and wastewater quality and capacity and new infrastructure up to 2021.

Sligo Champion