Cost of Kilkenny's Central Access Scheme rises to €18m

Councillors attended an in-committee budget briefing on Monday

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

St Francis Bridge

The cost of the Central Access Scheme has risen to €17.8 million

Kilkenny City’s controversial Central Access Scheme has cost at least €17.8 million to date, the council has confirmed.

This figure does not include for a secondary phase road contract final account settlement, the phase one bridge contract retention, or final costs (including legal fees) associated with Compulsory Purchase Orders for the project.

The figure was revealed in an in-committee budget meeting on Monday, where the elected members were updated on the costs for the scheme. Local councillor Breda Gardner, who has asked on a number of occasions about the scheme’s cost, later posted on social media about the meeting.

In 2014, the contract for phase one — the bridge — was signed with John Cradock Ltd with a value €4.7 million (including VAT).

In a document shown to councillors on Monday , the council said the conciliation settlement for the phase one bridge contract resulting from delays to the contract was €7.6 million (including VAT).

Cllr Gardner says that while initial delays caused by protests may have contributed to some additional costs, they do not account for the substantial amount now spent. She says the council must now take responsibility, ‘stop playing the blame game’, and get on with it.

Yesterday, director of services at Kilkenny County Council Tim Butler confirmed the latest figures to the Kilkenny People. A final amount is likely to be known in the next three months.

“Once everything is agreed, we will give full figures to the members and the public,” he said.

Mr Butler has also said the project is a ‘worthwhile’ one that has eased traffic problems and opened up two central city sites.

In August 2014, an independent review of the process for the CAS was conducted by Dr Sean Brady of the council’s audit committee. At that stage, the projected cost of the scheme was €10.7 million.

In October 2015, a project total cost of €16.7 million was given to members — although it was acknowledged that the final costs of a number of items could not be ascertained at the time. In recent weeks, members have sought an update on costs with the council budget due for adoption later this month.