Contracts signed for design of €9.52m scheme to protect Wexford town against major flooding event

Minister Patrick O’Donovan at the appointment of Nicholas O’Dwyer as engineering and environmental consultants for the Wexford Town and Environs Flood Relief Scheme. Pictured are Eamonn Hore Wexford County Council Director of Services, Minister Patrick O'Donovan and Gavin Reilly Director of Nicholas O'Dwyer Consulting Engineers. Photo; Mary Browne

Maria PepperWexford People

The Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Patrick O'Donovan visited Wexford County Council headquarters to attend the signing of contracts for a new flood relief scheme for Wexford town and environs.

The need for the scheme was identified in an Office of Public Works (OPW) study of the south east and a subsequent flood risk management plan for Wexford Harbour.  A preliminary cost estimate of €9.52 million has been approved by the OPW which will fully fund the flood relief project.

Wexford County Council has appointed Nicholas O’Dwyer Ltd Consulting Engineers to develop the scheme and their work will include flood risk modelling, assessment of options for flood prevention, preliminary design, preparation of planning and other statutory consent applications, detailed design, tendering for contractors and construction management services.

According to Brian Galvin of the Council’s Special Projects Team, the  scheme will address the risk of coastal, river and surface water flooding throughout the town and develop packages of works to protect properties against a 1:100 year flood event.

The works may include building new hard defences such as flood walls and embankments, the improvement of channel flows and flood attenuation ponds and surface water improvement works, subject to planning consent.

The scheme will cover Wexford Harbour and urban sections of the Farnogue, Carrick, Bishopswater and Rathaspeck river catchments. The main focus will be on the risk of flooding along the quay front and north of Wexford bridge where extensive flooding took place in October 2004 when high tides and strong winds forced water to flow over the quay front, through the streets into Redmond Square and North Main Street, causing major destruction to properties.

The project will include extensive consultation with the public and with stakeholders and a programme for the delivery will now be developed.

Minister O’Donovan welcomed the awarding of the contract to Nicholas O’ Dwyer Ltd as engineering and environmental consultants to carry out the design of the project.

"I am delighted to be here today to announce this appointment and to confirm the Government’s commitment to progressing the scheme,” he said.

"This is an important investment for the town and will provide protection to some 180 families and businesses. They can be assured that there will be extensive public consultation as the scheme progresses during the design stage.”

Minister Donovan said his office and Wexford County Council will continue to work closely with Nicholas O’ Dwyer Ltd to bring the project to construction.

"The scheme, when constructed, will be adaptable to continue to provide protection against today’s flood risk and the growing risk from climate change into the future.”

The Wexford Flood Relief Scheme is part of the Government’s €1.3bn investment in flood relief measures under the National Development Plan, as part of Project Ireland 2040.

Wexford County Council chief executive Tom Enright welcomed the appointment of Nicholas O’ Dwyer Ltd and the commencement of the design phase.

“The development and implementation of flood defence works in Wexford will allow for the protection of existing properties and the future development of the town centre,” he said.