Patrick Street works in Kilkenny City earlier this year
Retailers and hoteliers on Patrick Street face more disruption in the months ahead with Irish Water works now deferred until October.
Area engineer for Kilkenny City, Simon Walton, said the works by the water utility went “way beyond the initial completion date” but have now been “put to one side” at the Council’s request.
The motivation for this was to avoid further disruption to businesses during the busy summer months with the Kilkenny Arts Festival and Rás na mBan coming down the track.
There are still works scheduled for July 23 which are temporary “surface reinstatement works” so as to ensure the riding quality of the road is satisfactory ahead of Ireland’s top international stage race for women coming to Kilkenny in September.
Part of the race course will see the cyclists coming down Patrick Street at speeds of up to 50/60mph.
At this month’s meeting of Kilkenny City Municipal District, Cllr David Fitzgerald said: “In terms of project management, it’s a travesty.
The hole outside AIB was the most dug, filled in and re-dug hole in Ireland.”
Cllr Patrick McKee said businesses were at breaking point and some of them had just “broken-down crying” when he spoke to them.
Mr Walton told the councillor that the initial works “ran on significantly past” the initial completion date and it was at a peak time of year.
He said the Council told Irish Water that they should consider suspending the works and “they took that advice and works have now ceased”.
The works have been suspended but the water utility will come back to do the reinstatement works to bring the “riding quality to a reasonable standard” and the works will be fully complete then in October.
After this however, Mr Walton issued a caveat that the local authority would then be looking to do pavement works at the Club House Hotel side and then a full overlay of Patrick Street which is likely to further engage local businesses on the street.
Members were told by the Council executive that the existing surface on one side of Patrick Street is very poor and even in the short term they would be reluctant to leave it in the condition it’s in.
The most recent works came a little more than a year after a project to underground ESB services and install lighting also caused traffic restrictions and inconvenience.
Now the street is going to be ripped again in October which is likely to cause even more disruption to retailers and hoteliers.
Responding to enquiries from the Kilkenny People in May, Irish Water said its project was progressing well and was on target for completion.
In a statement this week, the water utility said: “Irish Water and Kilkenny County Council have completed the laying of new water mains in Patrick Street as part of a significant investment to provide a more secure and reliable water supply for local businesses and residents.
“However, due to hydraulic difficulties in commissioning these mains, the completion of the final phase of this project has taken longer than initially planned.
“This involves connecting individual properties to the new water main.
“Following discussions with the Council and local businesses we agreed that it would be better to suspend the completion of these works until the autumn to avoid unnecessary disruption during the busy summer months.”
They added: “In the interim, surface reinstatement of the road will take place next week.
“The final phase of the project will then be carried out in the Autumn and is expected to take four weeks to complete. This connection work will be confined to smaller areas on the footpath/parking bay and should not have any significant impact on traffic.
“We would like to thank the businesses on Patrick Street and surrounding areas for their ongoing engagement and valuable feedback and apologise for any inconvenience as we work to complete these works with the minimum of disruption.”