PLANNING for flood defences in Douglas and Togher is to be lodged with An Bord Pleanála in 'the next six to eight weeks', according to the project's engineers.
The scheme, which could cost up to €12 million, will take about 18 months to complete, with construction starting in mid-2018 if current plans are approved by the board.
The plans include the construction of new walls and culverts throughout the Douglas and Togher areas.
It follows the major flash flood event of 2012, which caused substantial damage throughout the area and has left many businesses and residents unable to get flood insurance since.
Plans, which were shown at a public display in Douglas Community Centre yesterday, include a flood defence wall on the southern side of the Tramore River, as well as a combination of channel widening and deepening throughout Douglas.
The existing culvert under Church Road will be replaced, while a combination of conveyance improvements and flood defence walls have been earmarked for Ravensdale.
Further upgrades are planned for Togher and the Donnybrook Commercial Centre.
Full details of the scheme will be displayed on http://www.douglasfrs.ie, with members of the public encouraged to make submissions.
Among the issues facing the designers of the scheme is the presence of Japanese knotweed in the area.
The invasive species, which can cause substantial damage in building foundations, can be found along the riverside and has already slowed down progress.
Ken Leahy, the project manager for engineers Arup who designed the scheme, said that a proactive approach has been taken with regards to the knotweed issue.
He said, "It is something that is becoming an issue on more and more of these schemes. Anywhere there is a river environment, it can be issue.
"A proactive approach has been taken on this scheme. Very early on we identified the issue and there has been a number of advance contracts to treat the knotweed, minimise its spread prior to construction.
"During construction and afterwards, there will be an invasive species management plan to manage the risk."
Local councillor Deirdre Clune welcomed the current proposals as a 'good first draft.'
She said the 'disastrous flooding' in the area in recent years has hit many people very badly.
"I am glad the scheme is finally going to planning stage. It might mean some disruption during the construction but the end result will mean that people are safer in their beds in the long run."
Local Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire called for construction to start as soon as possible.
He said that flooding is still a major issue for many in the Togher and Douglas areas.
"It may not have hit the same heights as major events in recent years, but flooding hasn't gone away in the area. It is something that many residents and business still deal with on a regular basis.
"Flooding causes major issues around the village ends of Togher and Douglas, near the businesses and a lot of homes. You have issues at Greenmount buildings, near the schools are throughout Douglas village, all of which have seen ferocious damage.
"This scheme is desperately important for these people who need to protect their property and it is important for people to be able to access flood insurance. Many people have been hit with very high premiums or, even, been unable to renew their policies because the area is still considered a flood risk."
Mr Ó Laoghaire said the programme is 'vitally important' for the Togher and Douglas area.