WATCH: Plans to revitalise Limerick's O'Connell Street approved by councillors

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Email:

david.hurley@limerickleader.ie

WORKS on the multi-million euro revitalisation of O’Connell Street are likely to begin next summer following the decision of councillors to approve the project.

Following a lengthy meeting this Monday, members of the Metropolitan District endorsed the plans which will see the installation of wider footpaths and additional pedestrian areas between Denmark Street and Cecil Street.

All on-street parking and loading bays will be removed to facilitate the construction of a bus lane and a cycle lane. A shared surface will also be a feature of the new public realm.

Following a heated debate this Monday, the plans were approved by 15 votes to three with Cllr James Collins, Cllr Jerry O’’Dea and Cllr Abul Kalam Azad Talukder each voting against.

An amendment, proposed by Cllr Sharon Benson, to include a segregated cycle lane was unanimously passed while an amendment, proposed by Cllr Elena Secas to reduce the speed limit to 15km/h, was also passed subject to consultation with gardai and other stakeholders.

An amendment, proposed by Cllr Sean Hartigan, to permanently pedestrianise O’Connell Street – between William Street and Cecil Street – was defeated by 11 votes to five – after director of service Kieran Lehane advised that such an amendment would represent a “material change” and could be open to challenge.

Following Monday’s meeting Joe Delaney, acting director of service for capital investment, said work to finalise the detailed design will begin immediately and that he expects contractors will be sought by the local authority early next year.

“We must deliberate and engage with stakeholders in terms of the detailed design and we are happy to do that but we must also be cognisant that we need to get the scheme moving. The councillors have taken their decision and we now need to see work on the ground and we would expect that the work will take approximately 18 months – beginning in summer 2020,” he said.

Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber has welcomed the outcome of the vote saying the focus must now be on delivering the project “as quickly as possible for business”.