A NEW €2 million roadworks scheme for Kilkenny City this year was unveiled at a meeting of the borough council last week.
As well as road repair, the programme encompasses plans for footpath replacement, improved disability access, and additional street lighting around the city.
High Street is to undergo a major overhaul, as the ‘shared space’ concept is brought into effect. This is part of the council’s long-standing ambition to upgrade the ‘public realm’ in the inner city.
The shared space concept will entail the removal of road markings as well as a ‘high quality platform entrance’, which will bring the level of the road up to that of the existing pavements.
Footpath rehabilitation works are proposed at a number of locations, including Granges Road, Wolfe Tone Street, Greensbridge Street, and Bateman Quay. Both the Butterslip and Market slip will undergo limestone re-texturing, with improved lighting and handrails to be added also.
“Some items have commenced already,” said senior engineer Kieran Fitzgerald.
“The priority at the moment is the resurfacing of carparks, after that, it is High Street.”
Among the Smarter Travel objectives for Kilkenny this year are the advance provision of a pedestrian bridge at Bateman Quay through statutory planning process, as well as electric vehicle charge points in Market Yard and John’s Green. The council is also to begin a preliminary investigation into low-energy local bus transport.
Mobility management improvements include the provision of new bus shelters with more accessible kerbing, and lowered crossing points to improve disability access around the city.
However, a number of councillors have expressed disappointment that, as it stands, there are no plans for improvements to the surface of the road on Wolfe Tone Street.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness (FF) said that fixing the road needed to be moved up on the priority list.
“The road on Wolfe Tone Street needs to be replaced as a matter of urgency,” he said.
“It is one of the oldest roads in the city, and it is in appalling condition. Other roads in less bad a condition have been replaced two or three times in its lifetime.”
The roadworks programme within the borough is funded predominantly by revenue accrued from parking charges in the city. The council welcomed the works scheme, and said it demonstrated the merits of parking charges in Kilkenny.
“The scheme is virtually €2 million – about the amount collected from on-street parking and parking charges in council-owned carparks in the city,” said Mr Fitzgerald.