Gas Networks Ireland will commence their €16.5m infrastructure project to bring gas to Wexford on July 20, a move that is expected to provide a major boost to the local economy.
Advance works for the pipeline will commence at the end of the month, consisting of the construction of 8.5km of pipeline from the New Ross roundabout towards the centre of Wexford town. The remainder of the project will be carried out in two phases, with an estimated completion date of late 2016.
The announcement of the start date was welcomed by Cllr George Lawlor as a positive step forward for Wexford.
'It is a tremendous move from an industry and business point of view,' he said. 'It will serve as a tool to attract business investment to Wexford. Until now, we have had to try to compete with other towns.'
Once complete, businesses will be able to avail of natural gas, which according to Gas Networks Ireland will allow for energy savings of up to 60 per cent. Cllr Lawlor believes that this will have a huge impact on existing companies in the county.
'The pipeline will allow them to avail of a much cheaper and more efficient energy source,' he said. 'I believe it will boost job creation and secure the future of existing companies.'
Celtic Linen, who recently announced 62 redundancies as part of a proposed business restructuring plan, is one company set to be affected by the gas pipeline. According to PR for Celtic Linen Emmet Barrett, they have been waiting for this project to begin for a long time.
'It is going to have huge benefits for us,' he explained. 'Energy is one of the main overheads in our business so there's no doubt that this is going to have a positive impact on our company, especially considering the situation we are in at the moment.'
The advance works are expected to take 10-12 weeks to complete. Following this, a pipeline will be built from the New Ross roundabout on the N25 to Campile, where it will tie in with the Great Island pipeline constructed in 2013. This first phase will take seven months to complete. Phase Two will see the installation of 25km of gas pipes around Wexford town.
According to Gas Networks Ireland, crews will work on small sections at a time, ensuring that the project will cause limited disruption to businesses and residents.
'We will keep businesses and residents along the route informed when we are working in their area,' explained Andrew Doyle, Construction Project Manager for Gas Networks Ireland.