THERE will be “traffic chaos” on the N24 Limerick to Waterford route for a week at the end of October when a section of the road before and after Oola will be closed.
Irish Rail are to spend around €2.5 million replacing Brooke’s bridge - located half way between Pallasgreen and Oola - and Oola bridge, on the Tipperary side of the village.
Trains from Limerick to Limerick Junction run underneath the two bridges.
Temporary traffic lights, which only allow one lane of cars to cross at a time, have been in place at Oola bridge since March. It was reported locally that batteries from these lights were stolen over a month ago.
The lights are already causing traffic problems says new cathaoirleach, Mary Harty.
“Irish Rail did an assessment on the bridge and they discovered that one of the abutments is substantially weakened so they are keeping traffic off that side. The work needs to be done but it should have been done a long time ago instead of waiting for the bypass to Bansha, which has been more or less shelved.
“You have no idea how much traffic and heavy goods vehicles use that road. A large chunk of the road will be closed. It’s going to be absolute traffic chaos.
“The whole rerouting will be a nightmare plus the roads that people will be going on are small country roads. They’re not even regional roads,” said Cllr Harty, who wants to ensure that Limerick County Council doesn’t incur any of the costs.
“The NRA have already assigned money to resurface some of the village and I don’t want that money reassigned,” she added.
Barry Kenny, communications director of Irish Rail, says they are replacing both bridges on their maintenance cycle.
“We’re replacing both bridges because they require to be replaced. It will start on the Friday night of the October Holiday weekend. We’re proposing a one week road closure to facilitate that from October 28
“The total cost will be approximately two and half million euro for the two bridges. You build new spans and you put in a new structure entirely and then relay the track again. We will make alternative arrangements for rail passengers during that time,” said Mr Kenny, who says that line was opened in 1848.