In the week that work on the new €23m Belturbet bypass began, the County Manager has rubbished media reports that the Ballyconnell inner-relief road project has been parked due to a lack of funding. Jack Keyes told The Anglo-Celt this week that both projects are going full-steam ahead.
"We have a contract signed (for Ballyconnell) and people are already on site working and we have letters from the NRA vindicating that the contract is being funded," said Mr Keyes. It is expected to be completed by late 2012 or early 2013.
Cavan TD Brendan Smith, whose Government announced €3.7m for the construction of the Ballyconnell Inner relief road, further explained yesterday that €3m had already been spent in purchasing land and carrying out the preparatory work, including design.
In regard to the N3 project from North of Kells to Cavan, the County Manager said the council has an allocation this year to advance the design element of this project. "We have not heard anything to the contrary that this design work won't proceed. We will then be waiting to see what allocations there will be next year, to see where this project goes."
Meanwhile as work on the Belturbet bypass proceeds, it was revealed that the bridge over the Erne as part of the project will be the first of its kind in Ireland or the UK and it will be a superb feat of engineering.
This week earthmoving equipment cleared top soil from the Staghall roundabout right down to the edge of the site of the proposed new crossing of the river Erne. The project is due to be completed in April, 2013, and will run from the roundabout at Staghall and link in with the N3 at Annagh lake. It covers a distance of 6.8kms with two bridges.
The County Manager Jack Keyes speaking on the site of the works on Monday pointed out that the €23m project is a very significant investment in the area. "We are already seeing the spin-off effects in Belturbet and surrounding towns, with members of the road building teams staying in local accommodation and dining in local restaurants."
Mr Keyes said that a lot of effort has been put into the design of the new bridge which will shortly be constructed over the river Erne. He predicted that the innovative design will make the bridge structure a landmark in the county.
Brendan Jennings, project manager on behalf of Cavan County Council told The Anglo-Celt that this new road is a unique project in that it passes through an environmentally sensitive area.
There are in fact two bridges on the scheme - one across the Erne and the other spanning Aghnaguig bog. The bridge over the bog will also be a complex building operation, as the bog has to be protected.
Then the bridge over the Erne will consist of the use of cable stays and the Suir bridge in Waterford would have some similar aspects.