Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW ), Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, has confirmed that the proposed €6m Athlone Flood Relief Scheme will not have to go to tender, speeding up the process to allow work start in the autumn.
Minister Moran said the project will be carried out by the OPW directly and will consist of eight separate schemes.
“The fact that the project will not be going out to tender means that the process is likely to proceed on schedule,” said Minister Moran. “I remain confident that OPW machinery and workers will be on the ground in Athlone come September/October. I have been assured by my Department that they will be providing all the equipment and expertise required.”
Minister Moran said the idea is that work will commence, once planning has been obtained, on a rolling basis. As each scheme starts, planning permission will be obtained for the other schemes so that there will be no delays.
Minister Moran has invited local councillors and interested groups to Dublin to view a similar OPW scheme currently nearing completion - the Lower Dodder Flood Alleviation Work.
“My Department will have the opportunity to showcase the kind of flood relief measures that they are currently putting in place and will provide people with reassurances regarding the exceptional work that the OPW carry out in the area of flood relief,” Minister Moran added.
He said the Athlone scheme demonstrates the commitment of State bodies and local authorities to deal pro-actively with the flooding issue.
Mayor of Athlone, Aengus O’Rourke, said: “It is great news and I am delighted we are getting closer to a starting date. The threat of flooding hangs over us in a frightening way every winter, since 2009 in particular. Given that we have had CFRAMS and everything else in the last few years, now is the time to see work on the ground.
“I am particularly delighted that the OPW are taking on this work themselves, because when they do a job like this they do it to the highest possible of standards.”