Irish Rail say a Limerick bridge to be replaced a year and half after ‘temporary’ traffic lights installed

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

IRISH RAIL has told the Limerick Leader that they “propose” to replace Oola bridge as planned in August.

IRISH RAIL has told the Limerick Leader that they “propose” to replace Oola bridge as planned in August.

Rumours have circulated in the locality that the works on the N24 were to be postponed again.

At a Castleconnell local are meeting last week Cllr Noel Gleeson said that Limerick County Council are “being blamed” and he sought a meeting with Irish Rail.

After being contacted by the Limerick Leader, a spokesperson for Irish Rail said: “Yes, we propose to undertake the work in August scheduled for 20 to 26th.

“Over the coming weeks, we will ensure that all residents and businesses and other stakeholders are fully informed of the works, their impacts, alternative arrangement etc.

“We are liaising with Gardai, the local authority and other agencies also.

“In the meantime, our community liaison office can be contacted by residents or other stakeholders looking for further information at 1890 253555 or communityliaison@irishrail.ie ,“ said the spokesperson.

“Temporary” traffic lights, that only allow one lane of traffic to cross at a time, have been in place at Oola bridge since March 2011. During peak traffic times drivers can be held up for up to 20 minutes.

One of the abutments of the bridge, located on the Tipperary side of the village, is substantially weakened so they are keeping vehicles off that side.

This has led to traffic back-ups and businesses losing money, said Cathaoirleach Mary Harty, who welcomed the news from Irish Rail that it is to go ahead in August.

“It is some small consolation from the terrible uncertainty. It has caused terrible inconvenience and local businesses have been really affected from people not stopping due to the back-ups,” said Cllr Harty.

Two bridges - Oola and Brooke’s - on the N24 Limerick to Waterford route were due to be replaced last October.

Trains from Limerick to Limerick Junction run underneath the bridges owned by Irish Rail.

It was put back to February and then August.

Only Oola bridge will be replaced by Irish Rail and not Brooke’s bridge. A senior engineer with the county council roads department said last July that “both bridges are in serious trouble”. However, there will be maintenance work done to it throughout the year.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said the cost of replacing Oola bridge figure is in the region of “€2 million” and they have previously denied that the delays were due to financial constraints.

“It is a big job,” they said.

“There have been a number of different issues that have delayed it.

“We had a company doing technical surveys for us who went in to liquidation over Christmas. It was a complete lockdown of the company.

“As a result of that we lost all that information and it had to be all done again. There have been a number of factors that have delayed it, ” said the spokesperson.

As a section of the N24 will have to be closed and detours put in place for up to a week the construction schedule can only be carried out while schools are off, says Irish Rail.