Provisional timeline for new bridge

A PROVISIONAL time frame for the Central Access Scheme which will include a new bridge over the river Nore was announced at the Kilkenny Borough Council meeting on Monday night.

A PROVISIONAL time frame for the Central Access Scheme which will include a new bridge over the river Nore was announced at the Kilkenny Borough Council meeting on Monday night.

The total cost of the scheme has fallen from €9.17 million to €7 million, due to a range of circumstances relating to the downturn in construction.

Director of services John Mulholland laid out what he described as a likely programme for the preparation and construction of the Central Access Scheme.

Mr Mulholland said that the preparatory work would begin in the first quarter of 2012 when the council would start preparing the site and beginning archaeological work. It is hoped that the detailed engineering, design and tender documents will be complete by the end of 2012.

The project will then proceed to tender and the construction phase is foreseen to last from the third quarter of 2012 until the first quarter of 2015.

Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Green), who has opposed the building of the Central Access Scheme since it was originally announced as far back as 1988, said he respected the decision of An Bord Pleanála to grant permission for what he described as a very watered down version of the scheme.

“I respect An Bord Pleanála’s decision, but I still think it will do untold damage to this city,” he said.

Cllr Noonan said he was terribly disappointed that the scheme was going ahead, but that he was proud of the fight that they had put up against it. He also encouraged the council and the owners of the mart site to try and come up with a more imaginative use for the land than a supermarket.

He cited the example of the digital hub in Dublin which he said had achieved full occupancy.

Cllr Seán Ó hArgáin (Lab) had also opposed the original route of the Central Access Scheme but on different grounds to Cllr Noonan. Cllr Ó hArgáin said he was very proud of the work that had been done to protect Wolfe Tone Street and in particular Garrison House.

Cllr Ó hArgáin said that in his view the most critical element of the scheme was that it created a space for cyclists. He said the scheme would help open access to one of the most historic landmarks in Kilkenny: St Francis Abbey.