WORK on the construction of the new Shannon River Crossing, Killaloe By-Pass and upgrading of the Ballina to Birdhill regional road is expected to start next spring, writes Dan Danaher.
East Clare councillors were informed the contract for the main scheme works, estimated to cost in the region of €50 million, is expected to be awarded by the end of this year subject to Department of Transport approval.
This was revealed at a Killaloe Municipal District meeting on Wednesday, following a motion from Councillor Tony O’Brien.
Senior engineer, Sean Lenihan outlined members will be aware that this was a two-stage tender process, and that the council had already carried out a Suitability Assessment stage last year resulting in six main contractors being prequalified and shortlisted.
Further to receipt of ministerial approval to proceed to tender, the council published the Main Scheme Works Tender on Friday, August 6, on the eTenders platform.
“As expected for a project of this type and complexity, there have been a number of queries and clarifications sought and so to inform the pre-qualified bidders further, site visits were arranged for Monday September 13.
“The tender return date is scheduled for Friday, October 15 2021 after which, and following review, assessment and recommendation, it is expected that the contract will be awarded by year-end and that construction on site will commence in spring 2022 subject to Department of Transport approval.”
Councillor Tony O’Brien said this project would represent the biggest infrastructure investment for East Clare.
Welcoming the provision of definitive dates for the awarding of the official tender and the start of work, he hoped the entire project can be completed within the three-year timeframe.
Welcoming the latest update, Councillor Pat Burke asked why was Mr Lenihan stating the awarding of the contract was subject to Department of Transport approval, as he thought this approval was already given.
Acting senior executive officer, Morgan Lahiffe said while he couldn’t speak for Mr Lenihan, he understood he was pointing out that all stages of this process have to be approved by the Department of Transport, in line with procedures.
Mr Lahiffe pledged to clarify this issue with Mr Lenihan. Councillor Burke said he hoped this issue was just procedural.