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Residents and businesses anger in Borrisokane over roadworks

Friday, 11th September, 2020 10:27am
Residents and businesses anger in Borrisokane over roadworks

Businesses have been impacted hugely by the roadworks says butcher Donal Leenane.y

Residents and businesses anger in Borrisokane over roadworks

Businesses have been impacted hugely by the roadworks says butcher Donal Leenane.y

Local anger has been expressed over the closure of the Birr road in Borrisokane to facilitate repairs to a 200-year-old culvert.

Tipperary Co Council imposed a temporary road closure of the N52 in Borrisokane last week to facilitate urgent works in the interest of public safety. The closure order is in place until October 2nd with daily traffic diversions in effect.

 

ANGER AND SURPRISE

Borrisokane residents and business owners have reacted with anger and surprise to this latest setback in a town that had suffered from a notoriously poor street surface for several years. They say weren't given any notice from the council or contractor involved that these works would be taking place.

Local butcher Donal Leenane, whose business is located at the junction, said the last communication he had with the council was in December. The first thing he or anyone else in the town knew about these works was when the contractor arrived onsite six weeks ago. He said very little work has been done in the time since, but that the road was suddenly closed off on Tuesday.

Mr Leenane questioned the logic of repairing the culvert - which belongs to the old mill that dated from about 1810 and was demolished 10 years ago - if the road is going to be laid over it and opened to traffic again. He said there is no need to serve the mill site and a far faster and much easier drainage solution could be found; the project being pursued at the moment is “a waste of taxpayers’ money”.

Mr Leenane said the Main Street resurfacing works in Borrisokane started in November 2018 and locals were led to believe that they would be finished a year later. He said many local people are not happy with certain aspects of the Main St works, including footpath surfaces. He also felt the street is wide enough to open it up to two-way traffic now so as to encourage people into Borrisokane.

“People won't even come in to town now,” he said. “My business is as good as gone; I'm down to half. This lack of communication is disrespectful to the people of Borrisokane.” He doubted that the works outside his premises would be finished by October 2nd as stated, and feared the road would remain closed until Christmas. Through no fault of their own, the workers appear to be doing very little work at the site and Mr Leenane questioned how much money would be spent on the project.

 

DIFFICULT TIME FOR SCHOOL

Principal of nearby Borrisokane Community College Matthew Carr said the works pose an inconvenience that came at a particularly difficult time for the school, with its 610 students just arriving back for the new term

“It is an inconvenience for parents and the buses,” Mr Carr said. “But the council have come up with a one-way system and it seems to be a good plan. Hopefully the problem will be resolved quickly. Safety is the big thing.”

Director of Nenagh Municipal District Marcus O'Connor said the problem is the old culvert, which runs from the mill site right across the junction. The council knew about the culvert but it has proven to be a greater problem than anticipated. The sides of the large nineteenth century structure have partially collapsed and the bottom has worn away.

Mr O'Connor said the council is trying to come up with an acceptable engineering solution. Specialist contractors have looked at the situation. He said the road closure is regrettable, especially with it coinciding with the return to school and with motorists having to undertake a long diversion. The council is working on a local traffic management plan and, while it is not yet possible to say for certain how long the work will take, Mr O'Connor hoped the closure timeframe would not require an extension.

“We need to come up with a technical solution,” he said. “We hadn't anticipated that we'd need a road closure but that culvert is in a much worse condition than we thought. This wasn't foreseen. Our priority now is to come up with a workable solution so we can get out of there as quickly as possible.”

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