IRISH Water’s redesign of plans to lay 540 metres of gravity sewers in Passage West as part of the Cork Lower Harbour Main Drainage Project has sparked further local anger.
Contractors Ward and Burke had initially proposed to completely close two sections of road in the town over a two-month period during July and August and then again September and October to facilitate the diversion of all sewerage from the area to a new treatment plant at Shanbally to stop the discharge of raw sewerage into the harbour.
Local business owners and politicians complained the road closures were for too long and would pose a risk to the local economy as well as causing problems for locals travelling to work and school.
After a local outcry, this plan was abandoned and Irish Water has returned with a new proposal that requires a six-week closure on three sections of the main street of Passage West over a 13-week period.
The first length is a 90 metre stretch from the library to the local water tower — a three-week closure would be required here.
The second length is to the Toureen inlet, which is off-road and would require no road closure. This would last approximately four to six weeks.
The third stretch encompasses the inlet to Oysterhaven Boats which would require a one-week road closure and the introduction of a one-way system after this period for two weeks.
A final road closure of a further two weeks would then be required.
Irish Water’s intention is to start work from August 13 if granted a road closure licence which will be subject to approval by Cork County Council.
Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath said there are major disappointments and anger at the latest proposals from Irish Water.
“When the previous proposals were suspended, we rightly expected that they would come back with significantly better proposals and this has clearly proven not to be the case,” he said.
“It is incredible that they are still proposing to work only five days a week and essentially to have one crew of workers. If you are closing off the main thoroughfare in the town — the R610 is a regional road — then the working week must be extended significantly. They [Irish Water] must also examine other engineering solutions to reduce the impact.
“One obvious one is to use a rising main to a greater extent, thereby reducing the depth of excavation required,” he added.
Councillor Marcia D’Alton (IND) said: “There is an improvement over the last proposals in that the total closure is broken in the middle. This at least would allow business patterns to re-establish.”