Clare County Council is making significant progress delivering the Shannon River Crossing project, which will be on of the biggest infrastructural project in South-East Clare.
The estimated cost of the project totals €69 million, which includes construction, land acquisition, design, supervision, risk, contingency and archaeology.
It is expected the new Shannon River Crossing, Killaloe By-Pass and upgrade of the Ballina to Birdhill R494 regional road will take up to three years to construct and could start next summer if everything goes to plan.
Out of 110 affected property owners, two homes were acquired under the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process, which will have to be demolished. One of these is in Clarisford while the other one is at the Ogonnelloe end of the scheme.
The council concluded a deal with these two property owners at an early stage – one built a new dwelling in the locality and the other home owner has moved out of the area.
In an interview with the Clare Champion, senior engineer, Seán Lenihan said the council is progressing this major infrastructure scheme on anumber of fronts following the publication of the pre-qualification competition last summer for the main project concerning the new bridge linking Killaloe and Ballina.
A large number of companies expressed an interest in these works and the council appointed an independent board to assess and pre-qualify firms that will be invited to tender.
The independent board has whittled the number of companies down to a shortlist of six, who will be asked to tender for the main scheme, which the council hopes to advertise before Christmas.
While this process is expected to take a few months, the council hopes that all going well and, with department approval, it will be able to award the main contract next summer.
To ensure the site can be made available to the successful tenderer for the main scheme works, the council recently ran a competition for a number of smaller advance works contracts which are expected to commence in the next few weeks.
Totalling in excess of €1 million, these advance works include site clearance, fencing of the lands acquired, service diversions, laying a section of new sewer and access road and demolition of a number of properties affected by the scheme.
The completion of these advance works will reduce the risk of the main works not being able to start in this timeframe.
The council recently issued a notice to enter for the entire scheme. A considerable amount of archaeology works have been completed to derisk the main scheme from any delay in its commencement in a timely fashion.
In a recent update for councillors, the council stated the Project Team continue to meet virtually on a regular basis to progress the delivery of this important piece of infrastructure for the Mid-West region.
The council confirmed it is now nearing the stage where it will be in a position to finalise the detailed design and sign off on technical compliance through independent checking, which will enable the authority to publish the tender for the Main Scheme works before the end of the year.
To achieve this, the following elements are being carefully managed: assessment of the recently received Suitably Assessment
Questionnaires (SAQs) for the main works contract is currently ongoing where expressions of interest were received in late August 2020 from a number of national and international contractors.
In parallel with the procurement of the Main Works Contractor, the council are also progressing a number of advance works contracts. These consist of Invasive Species Treatment, which has been completed for 2020 while Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd have commenced archaeological investigations on site
Prior to issuing the Notice to Enter, the intention by the statutory authority and its agents to enter and take possession of the lands as confirmed by the CPO, an advance notification letter was issued to all landowners recently, updating them on the current status of the project and advising them of the council’s intention to issue a Notice to Enter across the entire scheme in order to facilitate the completion of the Advance Works contracts.
Significant progress continues to be made in completing land acquisition deals, with the majority of agreements anticipated to be in place by the end of 2020.
These will be concluded in the main by agreement, with a small number through the arbitration process.