By Noel Dundon
Thurles town is facing major traffic chaos in the coming months as two huge infrastructural projects are set to kick-off with thirteen streets affected and the Suir bridge to be closed for a period of time.
A major water mains replacement project will get underway throughout the town as part of the Thurles Regional Water Supply Scheme and will result in the existing mains, which is situated beneath almost every street in the town, having to be ripped out and replaced by the more modern, up-to-date pipe network. This work, which will be undertaken by a contractor, will be slow and tedious and is likely to take longer than a year as all of Thurles is readied for the switch on of the new water supply.
And, the River Suir bridge is also facing a major up-grade after the National Roads Authority become alarmed at the condition of it in the last twelve months. Already, emergency remedial works have been carried out on the bridge to prevent it from crumbling into the river. And, while these works caused considerable traffic problems in the vicinity, they will be nothing compared to the expected chaos once the six week contract commences in mid August.
Members of Thurles Town Council reacted with great anger when they heard the plans to commence the works just a week before schools return for the new year, especially since a special request had been made to have the work done during holiday period.
It was even suggested that the work be postponed until next year, such is the level of expected mayhem in the area.
Mayor Michael Cleary expressed huge disappointment that the NRA had ignored the councils request to have the work done during the summer, especially since they had been flagging the expected problems for so long. Councillor Jim Ryan suggested that the NRA has given ‘the two fingers” adding that they are of the view ‘we have given ye the money, now go away and be happy with it.’