Posted by Declan Tierney, Connacht Tribune in News.

Works on the bridge in Claregalway and the provision of flood relief measures in the area will not take place until the New Year, it has emerged.

The works, which will involve the closure of the bridge in the village, had been due to take place last October but an archaeological dig in the area delayed the process.

It is understood that during the dig, some old coins were unearthed and the area had to be examined for other artifacts.
But when the works are completed it is expected that it will dramatically alleviate the flooding caused in the general Cregmore and Claregalway areas.

It will involve widening the River Clare from Carnmore to Claregalway and then install flood relief measures at the bridge in Claregalway in the event of the river rising—this is known as a flood eye.

It means that two additional channels will be provided which can take surplus waters in the event of prolonged rainfall.

Local Deputy Noel Grealish told the Connacht Tribune that gates at the Salmon Weir Bridge are remaining open which prevents a backlog of waters along the River Clare.
He said that it was his view that the waters on Lough Corrib were being kept too high which impacted on the levels of the River Clare.

“I appreciate that the waters on Lough Corrib have to be kept at a certain height in order to provide a consistent supply to Galway city. “But it is also my understanding that the water levels were being maintained higher than they should have been and this was partially reponsible for the horrific flooding in areas like Lisheenvalalla and Caherlea”, Deputy Grealish explained.

Dozens of houses in the catchment area of the River Clare were flooded in the November rains of 2009 and some home owners have still not returned. Others are awaiting insurance settlements while many more cannot get flood cover from their insurance companies.

Householders are furious that more than a year later, significant flood relief measures have not happened and most are apprehensive about the possibility of heavy rains returning again.

Deputy Grealish said that he would be making representations to the Office of Public Works to commence the works as soon as possible into the New Year.

“I know that the archaeological survey took way longer than expected but when these works are done, they will have a significant impact in that they will considerably reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

But, again, once there is a system in place which releases the water at the Salmon Weir, then the threat of flooding will be completely reduced”, he added.