The Athlone watermains rehabilitation project is over 80 per cent complete, with a further round of road reinstatement works to commence on Monday (February 16 ).
The council’s senior resident engineer Grahame Niven says the contract with ShareRidge is “on budget and on time”, and is expected to be completed by the end of April.
“When we have a block of reinstatement works to do, we get the surfacing contractor in to do those roads which are ready to do, which is what we are doing on Monday,” explained Mr Niven, adding that priority would be given to the Ballymahon Road and the Dublin Road.
Councillors had raised concerns about the state of these road surfaces at last week’s Athlone Municipal District meeting.
In contrast to the earlier days of the project, particularly last year when street closures disrupted the town’s main thoroughfares for a 12-week period at the height of the summer, Mr Niven said that complaints about the works had now dwindled down to almost nothing.
“People are getting used to the fact that we are here - a year this past January - and people now know it is temporary, and they can see the evidence of the works. The trench reinstatement is the best I’ve ever seen, and we are working on budget and on time.
“I have never dealt with a more efficient, hardworking, and courteous contractor than ShareRidge,” he added.
The project, which commenced in January 2014, was originally due to be completed in November. However it was hit by several delays, including archaeological finds in Church Street and the discovery of many “uncharted” services underground.
“One hundred per cent of the works are taking place underground. We carried out detailed site investigations before we started, but the ground is so varied throughout Athlone and there are so many uncharted services - pipes, gas, sewer, and ESB services - and we find these as we go along,” said Mr Niven.
Pipe work, connections, and temporary or permanent road reinstatement works are now complete in the following locations: Court Devenish, Gratton Row, Clonown Road, Old Galway Road, Lyster Street, and Arcadia.
Currently and in the coming weeks, crews are laying pipes at St Anne’s Terrace; The Strand, Lloyd’s Lane, and Friary Street; and Parnell Square, Ball Alley Lane, and Connaught Street. Further crews are working on service connections at Court Devenish, Parnell Square, and Ball Alley Lane.
The site working hours are 7am-7pm.