Calls to 'redouble' Castlecomer pedestrian bridge talks

Vital: Castlecomer ‘on cusp of a wave and key to it all is connectivity’

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

Castlecomer bridge hits stumbling block despite  €100k grant

The bridge would link the Discovery Park with the town

Councillors have called on the local authority to “redouble” their efforts in securing the Castlecomer Riverside Pedestrian Bridge.

Last November the Castlecomer pedestrian bridge hit a stumbling block due to the project costing an estimated €369,000 and a shortfall in funding.

An application was put in under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for €200,000 to provide a pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the River Deen linking Castlecomer Discovery Park with the town.

The application received a grant of €100,000. Addressing members at this month’s Castlecomer Municipal District meeting, Senior Executive Officer in the Community Section of Kilkenny County Council, Michael Delahunty, said: “Since then we’ve been looking at the design with Transport Infrastructure Ireland to see will they come up with additional funding. Discussions are ongoing.”

Mr Delahunty previously said: “The offer of the grant is not causing difficulty - it is the shortfall in funding which is the challenge.

"We currently do not have the balance of the funds. We are currently trying to see how the proposed bridge could be funded, including an examination of the design options so as to reduce costs. We are also looking at other sources of funding.”

At this month’s meeting, Labour Councillor Maurice Shortall asked if “all our eggs” were being put in the TII basket.

He said it was fabulous to see the foundations going in for the new Avalon Hotel and Castlecomer was “on the cusp of a wave and the key to it all is the connectivity in relation to the bridge coming together”.

He added that the bridge was necessary for safety, community and connectivity and a lot of the future of Castlecomer depends on it.

He called on the local authority to “redouble their efforts” and speaking after the meeting added: “With €2 million already earmarked for an overlay from the Laois Bounds to the Big Bridge, Castlecomer via Coolbawn South in addition to traffic calming measures at the Discovery Park/St Marys Church/The Lodge surely it’s a no brainer for the funders TII to incorporate the Riverside Pedestrian Bridge into the project.”

Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick said there needs to be a pedestrian bridge for the safety of people and the community is determined to see this bridge in Castlecomer.