BUS TRANSFERS will transport rail passengers from Limerick city to Limerick Junction three days a week throughout July as Irish Rail commences work on replacing Oola bridge.
As confirmed in the Limerick Leader in May, the bridge on the N24 will be replaced during the week commencing midnight Sunday, August 19.
There will be diversions in place for vehicles and no trains will run from Limerick to Limerick Junction, and vice versa, during that week.
Speaking at a Castleconnell electoral area meeting, Garry Keegan, of Irish Rail, said engineering works would commence on June 25.
For the four weeks in July, he said there will be a temporary timetable for bus transfers from the city to Limerick Junction on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday beginning on July 3.
“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.
Oola and Brooks bridge - located between Pallasgreen and Oola - were due to be replaced last October. It was put back to February and then August.
When asked by councillors about the delay Mr Keegan said he didn’t know as he has only been involved for the last month.
However, he said a lot of preparatory work has gone in to getting the project to this stage including ground investigations, design, traffic plans, contracting piling works, the pre-cast concrete bridge units and more
Cathaoirleach Mary Harty welcomed the news that it was going ahead but was “disappointed that Brooks bridge isn’t”.
“The NRA even granted money for realignment. It is very dangerous. We are going to lose NRA funding,” said Cllr Harty.
Mr Keegan said “funding restrictions made it impossible” but Irish Rail are committed to carrying out works there.
A spokesperson for Irish Rail said the cost of replacing Oola bridge figure is in the region of “€2 million”.
Cllr Harty said businesses in Oola have been “fiercely discommoded” due to the delays.
“They have suffered a loss of earnings. People won’t stop twice,” said Cllr Harty, who called on Irish Rail to liaise with landowners so that “fencing” issues which arose in the past doesn’t happen again.
Mr Keegan said they have been in talks with landowners.
A major information campaign by Irish Rail will feature advertisements in local newspapers and radio stations; leaflet drops; consulting stakeholders and an information evening in Ballykisteen Hotel.
Once Oola bridge is replaced it will remain single lane until September 17 as works will continue until then.