The drainage problems which have plagued Athlone in recent years are soon to be a thing of the past, with the news this week that the Athlone Main Drainage Scheme has moved a step closer to completion.
Consultancy contracts for the long-awaited scheme, which will cost in the region of €80 million, were signed on Tuesday by cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Fintan Cooney.
On completion, the scheme should put paid to the sewerage overflow and other drainage problems experienced in the town during periods of high rainfall, particularly in the Strand and Abbey Road areas.
“The scheme is essential to facilitate the future development of the town and to deal with the currrent intermittent discharge into the Shannon,” said director of services with Westmeath County Council, Barry Kehoe.
“We are delighted to be in a position to sign the contract, which will allow the Athlone Main Drainage Scheme to progress a further stage...It is fantastic to have the consultants on board.”
The first phase of the scheme will involve the tunnelling of a sewer from the pumping station at Golden Island to Coosan interchange, and another from Golden Island to Iona Park.
The scheme will also involve the upgrade of the existing waste water treatment plant and pumping station at Golden Island and the extension of the town’s sewer network.
The project is to be carried out over a four-year timeframe, with construction to commence in 2011. The design and construction of the scheme will be a joint venture between Jennings O’Donovan & Partners and J.B. Barry & Partners consulting engineers.
Commenting on the appointment, county manager Daniel McLoughlin said: “Westmeath County Council is delighted to have secured funding to engage the design team. Both firms have extensive experience in the design and construction of large urban water and wastewater projects.
“This appointment is an important milestone in the process of putting in place the infrastructure necessary to permit Athlone to develop and secure its status as a Linked Gateway Town for the Midlands region. The scheme, when completed, will also make a significant contribution to the protection of the environment.”