Minister disputes Cork tidal barrier report

Minister disputes Cork tidal barrier report
Image from the report by HR Wallingford on the Cork City Tidal Barrier.

AN independent report on a €140m tidal barrier for Cork city has been dismissed as lacking detail with Office of Public Works (OPW) commissioned estimates saying it would cost much more.

Minister for the OPW, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran looks set to put the breaks on the plan floated by the Save Cork City group of architects, engineers and academics, claiming that the tidal barrier would actually cost significantly more than the group has estimated.

A cost estimate report by UK-based HR Wallingford puts the cost of a tidal barrier - based 10km downstream of the city between Horse Head and Little Island - at €140m.

The proposed structure would be 950m long and would consist of an embankment with a 60m wide navigation opening and a number of smaller gates.

The proposed location of a tidal barrier for Cork Harbour.
The proposed location of a tidal barrier for Cork Harbour.

It is estimated a tidal barrier could be built in two years, with OPW plans for raised quay walls taking at least seven years to be completed.

The report was commissioned by Save Cork City, which has campaigned since the beginning of 2017 for an alternative plan to the OPW flood defences, which they believe will damage the aesthetic beauty of the city's quay walls.

The tidal barrier cost estimate report was penned by HR Wallingford's water engineering expert David Ramsbottom and civil engineer Peter Hunter, both of whom have over 40 years of experience in their fields.

However, Minister Moran said the report lacked detail on costings associated with the construction of the tidal barrier and initial findings from an OPW-commissioned report by civil engineering consultancy firm ARUP places the final figure much higher than €140m.

The Minister also pointed to navigation requirements within Cork Harbour and environmental issues which could arise from the build and said the HR Wallingford report does not deal with fluvial flooding from the city up to Inniscarra dam.

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