'Relief' in County Limerick village as bridge reopens to traffic

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

There is huge relief locally after the bridge outside Elton reopened to traffic late last week Picture: Michael Cowhey

There is huge relief locally after the bridge outside Elton reopened to traffic late last week Picture: Michael Cowhey

AFTER weeks of uncertainty and confusion for local residents, and frustration for motorists a county Limerick bridge has reopened to traffic.

Elton bridge, which had been closed since September 5, was initially due to remain closed until October 2, to allow for what Iarnrod Eireann described as “essential safety works” to be carried out.

The work consisted of the installation of precast concrete units and a traffic barrier system on both approaches.

The road was then due to reopen on October 21 but the date was then extended by another week for further repairs including a permanent detour of a water main by Irish Water.

Finally, it reopened last Thursday, October 26.

“It opened on Thursday afternoon of last week. It is completely open. It is a huge relief,” explained Margaret Reale, shop manager of Creed’s grocery shop in Elton.

“Journey times are a lot shorter again. It was put up on the shop Facebook page that it was reopened and all these people who I wouldn’t even know were tagging each other saying, thank God,” she added.

Safety works resulted in the entire bridge being closed to traffic, and detours being put in place in surrounding areas.

Ms Reale had previously raised concerns that the detours - which directed traffic to various towns and villages in the surrounding areas - had almost made Elton unaccessible.

When the road reopened, she said: “We noticed the difference straight away in the shop.”  

An Iarnrod Eireann spokesperson Jane Cregan previously said that because major structural works are being carried out on the bridge “it was not possible to keep a section of the road open

“This is major work. It is having a negative effect on the community and we do apologise for that but unfortunately we have no other alternative but to put this diversion in place,” she stated.