€56m drainage scheme designed to cope with flood levels

A €56 million project to overhaul Athlone’s drainage system, to commence early next year, has been designed to cope with the November 2009 flooding levels, and will greatly reduce the frequency of flooding and of storm overflow into the river.

Consulting engineers on the Athlone Main Drainage scheme, Ken McIntyre and David Kiely, made a detailed presentation of the plans for the scheme to councillors on Tuesday.

Mr McIntyre explained that the design has undergone some modifications in the wake of the unprecedented flooding experienced by several areas in the town last November.

“The 2009 flood levels were higher than previously recorded, and this has had implications for the design. We have to be able to get flow out under all conditions,” he said.

The scheme has been divided into five separate contracts, the first of which will get underway in early 2011, and the remainder of which are expected to commence in 2012.

The first contract, which will cost in the region of €13.3 million, involves the provision of a tunnel sewer running from the existing Abbey Road pumping station to a new pumping and storage plant at Golden Island. The tunnel will eliminate the need for the siphon which currently runs under the river and which has been partially responsible for the occasional sewage overflow into the river.

The remaining contracts cover the provision of a new pumping station for Creggan, subject to residential development in the area; sewer rehabilitation work as far as Coosan and to the west of the town; the upgrade of wastewater treatment plants; and surface water works.

Together, the improvements will double the capacity of the town’s drainage system from a population equivalent of 30,000 to 60,000.

Of the total €55,791,000 cost of the works, which includes the cost of site investigation, approximately €13.3 million will have to be sourced by the local authority. If all the necessary funding is forthcoming, it is estimated the entire drainage scheme could be completed by late 2014 or early 2015.

A public information meeting is to be held on Tuesday March 30 to inform people of the scope of the plans and to liaise with the local business community on a traffic management plan for the duration of the works.

“There will be a number of traffic diversions, which we want to agree with the local business community so we can minimise disruption,” said Mr McIntyre.


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