Long awaited flood relief work commences at Iona Villas
Minister Kevin “Boxer” Moran is in Athlone today to turn the sod on the first phase of the Athlone Flood Alleviation Scheme at Iona Villas. “Boxer” Moran said “I am absolutely delighted to be here today to turn the sod on this very important flood alleviation scheme for Athlone. This town has suffered over many years from flooding and from the threat of flooding and this Scheme will bring long awaited relief for Athlone. It is a great day for Athlone and one that marks the beginning of a new era for our great town. I am delighted as Minister responsible for flood relief to be able to deliver this Scheme for the people of Athlone.”
The OPW and Westmeath County Council have been working together since 2016 in carefully developing and progressing proposals to effectively deal with the flooding issues in Athlone. Planning for flood risk takes time and has to be undertaken by highly specialised and skilled personnel. Consultants were appointed in April 2017, to develop and bring forward proposals for the several areas of the town which are affected by flooding. A programme of works comprising of eight parcels of flood defence works has been developed which, it is proposed, will be delivered in a phased manner.
The Minister said, “I am delighted with the partnership approach we have taken in Athlone where Westmeath County Council has taken on the role of advancing the Scheme through the planning process and OPW is providing the funding for the development and implementation of this Scheme. The works will be undertaken directly by OPW’s own workforce. The first phase in Iona Park involves the construction of reinforced concrete walls and earthen embankments along with raising a section of the road and other associated works will be completed in the first quarter of 2018.”
Westmeath County Council has also completed a planning process for the Quays and it is hoped to commence works there in the first quarter of 2018 once required site investigations, detailed design and procurement processes are completed. The Minister welcomed that Westmeath County Council is to commence a Part 8 process for Brick Island in the next week which, if approved, in early 2018 would allow works there to commence shortly thereafter. The remaining parcels will be advanced by the Council in 2018.
Minister Moran stated, “The works for all eight parcels of the Scheme will require investment of approximately €6m and, when completed, will provide flood protection to some 250 homes. This is an absolutely vital Government investment for the economic and social wellbeing of Athlone and the region.”