A temporary bridge installed in Claregalway in recent weeks as part of the OPW’s flood relief scheme is facilitating works to deepen the river bed to divert water into a new channel along the Clare River.
However, concern has been expressed that heavy rain over the weekend could hamper the vital work with local county councillor Malachy Noone worried that rising water levels could prove detrimental to the overall work.
“If we got two dry weeks it would allow them to do this work but my fear is that those two dry weeks may have passed us by,” he said.
“After last weekend’s rain the river could rise by a further two inches making the work even more difficult to complete and the last thing we need is further flooding in this area,” says Cllr Noone.
During the bad flooding a number of years ago the main N17 route over Claregalway Bridge became impassable for a number or days. There was almost a repeat of this situation last December when it required a lot of pumping by fire crews and members of other essential services to keep one lane of the bridge open for traffic.
But at the same time families were unable to bring their cars close to their homes in a number of smaller roads in the area and many residents had to rely on people with tractors, trailers and transport boxes to take them to and from their homes.
“Nobody wants that sort of situation to happen ever again and as there is a good waterfall in the River Clare, going into the Corrib downstream from the village, the deepening of the existing river bed under bridge may be the answer.
The crews operating the machinery can do so from the temporary structure where they are also diverting the water away from the existing channel. This seems to be the solution—if they can dry out the river bed and get a decent spell of good weather to do it,” concluded Malachy Noone.