Work on the Tramore Road flood relief scheme is set to commence before year’s end and be completed before the middle of next year.
Confirmed by Mr. Frank Roche, City Council Senior Engineer for Corporate Affairs and Transportation, that will come as welcome news to commuters who have suffered the inconvenience of the road being closed off on a regular basis due to flooding, increasingly so over the past ten or fifteen years.
The OPW funded €2m project, involving the raising of the road by varying amounts up to a metre, from SuperQuinn out beyond the Outer Ring Road as far as the Green Road, this will provide a high level of flood protection. But for environmental and ecological reasons, absolute protection cannot be guaranteed, according to Mr. Roche.
He emphasised that the proposed National Heritage Area status of Kilbarry Bog and the protection of its wildlife would be a prime consideration in the flood relief programme. “It is a requirement that this area be protected as a wildlife and nature area and the Tramore Road must be seen as an integral part of the NHA and therefore not suitable for major engineering works”, he said.
But in the absence of measures to fully guarantee against flooding – which would be prohibitively expensive in any event – better traffic management and signage will further ease the situation when
rain storms strike with abnormal force. It is anticipated that the road might be closed about once a year through the next decade.
Confirmation of the scheme, after all the frustrating years of waiting, has been welcomed by former Mayor, Cllr. Cha O’Neill, who said that no longer in times of flooding would entry to the city be choc-a-bloc through Avondale and Kilcohan. Residents of those areas would be delighted with the news, he said.
He made the point that in addition to the raising of the Tramore Road and the consequential lessening of the flood threat, the Outer Ring Road and all the routes linking it to the city would spread the traffic volume when the main artery was closed.
Defending the nature of the scheme, Mr. Roche explained that raising Tramore Road above extreme flood levels would require an uplift of up to 1.8 metres. Apart from huge expense, that would involve major engineering works which would be environmentally unacceptable for the section of road which lies within the proposed Kilbarry Heritage Area.
He added: “A more practical and progressive approach is to carry out limited engineering works but also to improve management measures. The profile of the road can be regularised in order to eliminate low lying areas. Together with expanding the heritage area itself, it should be possible to restrict road closure to an average of once per year and for much shorter duration. High quality diversion signage will virtually eliminate public inconvenience given that Kilbarry Road and Old Tramore road are scheduled for major improvements”.