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Fears expressed over salt barn construction flood risk

CONCERNS have been raised that the construction of salt barns by the NRA could result in additional surface water being diverted to a stretch of river described as “flood prone”.
At a recent meeting of Ennis East Electoral Area, Councillor Johnny Flynn called on Clare County Council, in conjunction with the Office of Public Works (OPW), to increase the water freeflow under both the Aughavaddy and Gaurus bridges.
According to Councillor Flynn, this is “urgently needed” for a number of reasons. He stated the action would “reduce the risk of flooding of a main access road to the town, adjoining properties and septic tanks in the area”.
He added that it would also result in removing “the danger to traffic with ponding at this busy road, which has occured in the past and is identified by locals as a safety concern”. He commented that there is concern locally that “significant additional surface water from the salt barns being constructed will be diverted to Aughavaddy Bridge on this already flood prone stretch of water”.
He added that residents in the area “feel the situation has disimproved since the motorway”.
Eamon O’Dea, senior executive engineer for the Ennis Electoral Area, responded that the council will examine the capacity of culverts at Aughavaddy Bridge and Gaurus Bridge. He pointed out, “Whilst gardens have flooded, no house was flooded in this area in 2009 and the issue of flooding on the Tulla Road is only at times of heavy or persistent rainfall, which relates to the capacity of gullies to discharge water at this hollow.”
He added, “The NRA motorway maintenance depot at the Tulla Road intersection has an onsite storm water attentuation system before it discharges to the storm sewer on the Tulla Road.”
The council meeting also heard from Councillor Paul Murphy, who asked for a briefing on the current position in relation to the Ballybeg swallow hole and any anticipated funding to carry out flood relief works.
Mr O’Dea replied, “The council received permission from An Bord Pleanála in April and the council’s engineering consultants are preparing a detailed cost-benefit analysis for submission to the OPW with the intention of getting approval for the funding of the Ennis South Flood Relief Scheme, which includes the works at Ballybeg.”

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