WATERWAYS Ireland hopes greater use can be made of the city marina following completion of dredging works on the Shannon and Abbey rivers.
Access into Limerick has been restricted by the silting up of navigation channels but the works have been completed just in time for two major boating rallies due to visit the city in the coming weeks.
Over €4 million was spent on the Limerick Marina and 28 surrounding moorings in 2000 but the facility has been largely underutilised in recent years.
In all, around 20,000 tonnes of sediment have been removed since work got underway last October and Waterways hopes to see more cruising boats now return to Limerick.
“This contract was challenging due to the requirement to execute the works during the winter, out of the boating season,” explained a spokesperson for Waterways Ireland.
“The Abbey River experienced very high flows at this time of year as a result of operations at Ardnacrusha Power Station and part of works were undertaken in a tidal zone of the river. Meticulous planning by Waterways Ireland and the contractor was required to ensure the dredging was carried out safely and effectively in reduced daylight hours, under strict environmental guidelines with severely limited access and traffic restrictions within the city.”
Eighteen months of planning went into the works, which were carried out in three stages.
This first involved dredging material around Custom House Quay and Sarsfield Lock, which required an excavator mounted on a pontoon and barges to remove the sediment to the quay.
The second phase of the work involved the removal of material from the Baal’s Bridge area while the final stage - which commenced in February - entailed the dredging of the George’s Quay area.
“All dredged material removed from the Abbey River was transported to a licenced disposal facility in accordance with current disposal legislation and the traffic management plan agreed with Limerick City Council, which was designed to minimise traffic disruption in the city centre,” said the Waterways Ireland spokesperson.
“It is anticipated that this maintenance work will greatly enhance the key asset that the navigation provides to Limerick city and help stimulate greater use of the marina by boats. The improved mooring facilities will also enable the boating enthusiast to access the extensive public amenities available in the city centre, including many restaurants, bars, shops and museums among other attractions.”