Local councillors and Kilkenny County Council officials at the South East Greenway
People are being asked to stay away from the route of the South East Greenway in south Kilkenny because it is still a building site.
The appeal was made at a meeting of local councillors, last week, when it was revealed that many people are already walking along the route, now clearing work along the old rail line is almost complete.
However, it was stressed that the contractors are still in possession of the land, works have not been completed and because it is a building site it is not safe to use as a walking amenity.
The appeal was made by Director of Services Seán McKeown at a meeting of Piltown municipal district councillors, last week.
Work on the greenway route has been temporarily suspended because of Level 5 regulations, and so the site has not been officially handed over to the council. A ‘final sweep’ of the route can’t be conducted until March, when building sites are permitted to reopen.
Lifting the old rail and sleepers has opened up the track, Mr McKeown said, and a number of people are accessing the line as if it is a greenway. Local landowners are concerned and have been in contact with the council.
The greenway “is not due to open until next year and we would prefer if people stay out for the moment,” Mr McKeown appealed.
Lockdown restrictions are also impacting Kilkenny County Council’s interactions with landowners as face-to-face meetings can’t be held. However work is ongoing on design features including crossing points, accommodation works and other structures.
Contracts for the first two sections of macadam surface on the greenway are to be awarded this month.
Along the 24km of greenway surfacing contracts will be divided into several lots. Lots 1 and 2 will be the urban areas at each end of the greenway, 5m wide macadam surfaces through the urban sections of New Ross (Lot 1 - c 2.5km) and Ferrybank (Lot 2 - c1.5 km).
However, these works cannot begin until the lifting of Level 5 restrictions. Lot 3 (i.e. c6km section – 3m wide from Raheen, New Ross to Ballyverneen, Glenmore) has also been tendered and a recommendation made shortly.
Further contracts will be awarded as the detailed design is finalised and the landowner accommodation works are agreed in each lot.
Work on the greenway is now three months behind schedule because of Covid restrictions, Mr McKeown said, but he estimates it will still open on schedule.