Construction progress with regard to the Athlone Flood Alleviation Scheme is to continue apace following approval of the planning process for works at Deerpark, on the town’s west side.
It is positive news for the residents and business in this particular area which has been subject to the disastrous consequences caused by rising flood waters, most recently in 2015.
Encompassing approximately 120 private residential houses, defence works within flood cell one will be substantial in nature and when completed are expected to cost €3 million.
To feature reinforced embankments, restructured flood defence walls and enhanced drainage, it is expected that work will commence shortly with a finish date for the scheme in its entirety of 2019.
Upon the pedestrian and cycleway bridge traversing the River Shannon, the continued Greenway will be designed to meander along this particular route as it makes its course towards Galway.
Welcoming the news during the course of the Westmeath County Council meeting, Cathaoirleach, Cllr. John Dolan noted that an enhanced flood defence mechanism to protect the town from previous flood issues must be welcomed and hoped that workers would be on site in the Deerpark are within a short timeframe.
Echoing these sentiments, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, commented that Deerpark was at the lowest point of Athlone and the residents had been subject to major flooding on two previous occasions within the last ten years.
“An enhanced cell to protect those living and working in the area is most welcome and I would like to know how the cycleway will be accommodated once the flood defence works are completed,” Cllr. O’Rourke queried.
Cllr. Paul Hogan welcomed the development and expressed his desire that the looped walkway from the Big Meadow to Bastion Quay would remain accessible while construction was ongoing.
“There will be a lot of comfort for the residents in this area knowing this work will commence in the near future,” Cllr. Hogan stated, commending the tireless effort of Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, “who got the OPW on the ground in the town and secured the relevant funding for the project.”
Town Mayor, Cllr. Frankie Keena, also expressed his gratitude towards Deputy Moran, noting that works, when completed, in the Deerpark area will “alleviate the stress levels and inconvenience of the residents”.
Assuring the elected representatives present that defence works in flood cell one would, upon approval, commence shortly, Mr. Barry Kehoe, Director of Services, Westmeath County Council, noted a conclusion date for the scheme in mid 2019, adding that the cycleway when complete, will be thoroughly safe to use and designed to be above the water level at all times.