The council is aiming for the end of January to introduce the one-way system for Church Street, district manager Pat Keating informed councillors at Monday's meeting of the Athlone Municipal District.
Mr Keating said advance works are progressing at the Coosan Road, Mardyke Street and the Crescent. He added that drainage works currently being carried out on Church Street during evening and night time hours are expected to come to a halt in mid December before resuming in January.
Mr Keating added that a detailed communications strategy is in place, including the publication of a leaflet in local papers and radio briefings, and that this will be communicated to the public in advance of the main contract works taking place. He added that details around free parking in The Strand area will be appropriately advertised in good time.
Cllr Paul Hogan (SF ) commended the level of communication outlined and the willingness of those on the ground to work with local stakeholders. However, he pointed out that when Church Street was closed last week the traffic lights at the top of Northgate Street operated as if Church Street was still open. This led to huge traffic backlogs as rerouted traffic was forced to sit and wait at the junction.
In response to Cllr Hogan's concerns, district engineer Pat Nally said the Northgate Street lights would have to be re-programmed each and every night and morning, which he said is not practical.
Director of services, Barry Kehoe said the council are still looking at finishing the Church Street project prior to the Christmas shopping season next year.