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Engineers are awaiting the all-clear from archaeologists before beginning major flood relief work on Claregalway bridge.

The works also involved demolishing Crusheeny bridge located between Claregalway and Cregmore bridges and replacing it with a new structure.

It had been hoped to have the works completed sooner but the archaeological survey in Claregalway as well as the complexity of the project which involved the construction of two temporary pontoon-type bridges across the Clare river to take N17 traffic while the work on the bridge is being carried out has delayed matters.

The OPW (Office of Public Works) hope to have archaeologists on site before the end of the week and the work schedule will depend on how long their investigation takes.

Following the publication of the Clare River Flood Study Report in June of this year, Minister Martin Mansergh announced funding for the River Clare (Claregalway) Flood Relief Scheme.  At the same time, he asked OPW and Galway County Council to bring forward advance works to reduce the flood risk to Claregalway and Caherlea/Lisheenavalla in the short term.

Following discussion with various parties, it was decided to press ahead with two elements of the proposed scheme, the construction of a flood eye beside Claregalway Bridge and the subsequent replacement of Crusheeny Bridge.

Following results of geophysical and topographical surveys, the OPW was advised by the National Monuments Unit of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, to engage archaeologists to carry out the necessary investigations on the site and to monitor the flood relief works.

Archaeologists have been appointed on foot of this and have applied for the necessary Ministerial consent.  The OPw understands that this will be granted in the next day or two and that the investigations will begin before the end of this week.  The commencement of the actual flood relief works is dependent on the findings of the archaeologists.

Assuming the OPW is given permission to proceed with the advance work, it will be sequenced as follows:

  • Construct bypass roadway and abutments for temporary bridges at Claregalway,
  • Place temporary bridges and detour traffic.
  • Re-route water mains.
  • Excavate for portal culverts.
  • Construct foundations.
  • Erect portal culverts.
  • Waterproof culverts.
  • Construct end walls and parapets for flood eye.
  • Restore water mains.
  • Excavate channels to connect flood eye with main river upstream and downstream.
  • Backfill and resurface over flood eye.
  • Restore traffic to N17.
  • Demolish Crusheeny Bridge.
  • Place temporary bridge over Clare River at Crusheeny, pending construction of new bridge.

“It is not possible to give a time-scale for the advance works at the moment, due to the uncertainty associated with the archaeology.  However, we hope to be in a position to give an update in the coming weeks,” a spokesperson for the OPW said.

by Tony Galvin (Tuam Herald)