Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW ) and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, has announced that his Department has begun maintenance work on the River Al this week.
Athlone has been subject to acute fluvial flooding in the past mainly from the River Shannon and its tributary, the River Al, which flows through the east of the town. This flood risk is well documented and has been subject to hydrological and hydraulic analysis, flood risk assessment and development of a preferred option through the Shannon CFRAM Study.
“The work that has started on the River Al today (Monday ) will increase the capacity of the river in flood conditions,” said Minister Moran.
“The maintenance that is being carried out will also ensure that there is no blockages along the river’s channel and as a result water should get away much quicker should there be any significant flood event this winter.”
Minister Moran said that once the work on the River Al is complete, the OPW will next move to carry out similar work at the back of Iona Villas and at the Canal from Mick McQuaid’s Bridge.
Meanwhile, Minister Moran has warmly welcomed the news that the initial stage for the €6m flood relief scheme for Athlone has successfully past the Part 8 process without objections. This phase includes the construction of flood walls and barriers (circa 310m ) along the west bank of the River Shannon between Town Bridge and downstream of the Lock Gates as part of the Athlone Flood Alleviation Scheme.
“This is great news for the people of Athlone and I look forward to work on the ground starting very soon,” said Minister Moran. “The Athlone scheme demonstrates the shared commitment of State bodies such as my own Department and the local authority to deal pro-actively and urgently with the flooding issue. It is also another excellent example of the OPW and local authorities working effectively in partnership to get the job done as quickly as possible.”