“AN EMBARRASSMENT” and a “shambles” is how work on the bridge in Tullow was described at last week’s meeting of Carlow County Council.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) began work on the bridge last year, aimed at increasing safety in this area for pedestrians. As it’s a national secondary road, the work is being carried out by Kildare County Council and initially was expected to be completed by April 2019.
However, work is continuing, leading to huge anger among Tullow residents.
“The ongoing work at the bridge in Tullow is an embarrassment,” stated cllr John Pender. “The whole of Tullow are concerned about this ongoing delay; this contract has taken far too long,” he added.
“Now today we learn that once again they are talking about closing Abbey Street from 8pm to 10pm, affecting lots of businesses and one in particular, who does a lot of their business during these hours,” said cllr Pender.
“It’s not good enough and I would appeal to Kildare County Council to get the job finished and get out of there,” he added.
Cllr William Paton stated that he, too, shared the concerns of cllr Pender, pointing out the recent notice for road closure was dated between Monday 20 May and Friday 14 June, meaning the bridge “wasn’t going to be finished this month either”.
Cllr Paton remarked that most times he passes by the bridge the only thing happening is “men looking down holes”.
“It’s a shambles and a classic example of how not to do a project,” said an enraged cllr Paton.
“It’s ridiculous and the lack of information from TII is appalling … no communication to the elected members or the public. They are basically giving us a two-finger salute and the people of Tullow are totally sick of this project,” cllr Paton argued.
He concluded by revealing that if he had known about the delays this project would encounter at the beginning, he would have given “a two-word answer” to TII when they sought support for the project, “the second word being off”.
Director of services Dan McInerney said: “I, too, share your frustrations.”
“This project should be at an end,” he admitted, adding that some of the issues have been with public utilities. Mr McInerney also stated that while there can often be no sign of working going on, the construction of the two footbridges is ongoing off site.
Cllr Paton asked if the road closure time could be changed from 10pm to midnight, while cllr Jim Deane called on the council to suspend rates for any business “near this disaster zone”.
Chief executive Kathleen Holohan clarified that this was “not something the council can do”.
“Our finance department is willing to work with businesses and take payment on a phased basis, but we are not in a position to suspend rates based on a possible delay in an infrastructural project,” she stated.