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The works contractor, Ward and Burke (W&B) Ltd initially applied to Cork County Council (CCC) at the end of May for the closure of the Ring Road in Clonakilty to commence on 2 July 2018. CCC sought further information from Ward and Burke to clarify the necessity to close the road at this busy time of the year. The request for information and its provision has led to a delay in the publication of the road closure. W&B and CCC are working on the preparation of a revised road closure and hope that this will be in place later in July to allow the progression of these works.

These works are critical to protect Clonakilty from flooding. Works in this area will start with some archaeological trial holes along the wall at the edge of the Ring Road. It will be possible to carry out these trial holes without a full road closure being put in place.  After one week of investigations W&B will be in a position to start piling works.

When piling commences this will have to take place from the road side of the wall for environmental, safety and construction reasons and a full road closure will be required. The space required for the piling rig to operate is 7.04m. The width of the Ring Road is generally 7.6 m wide but is narrower in places. When piling is underway there will not be enough space for cars or people to pass the rig on the road.

The works have to take place from the road side because the area on the Sea side of the road (Deasy’s Quay is of archaeological importance and it is not permitted to interfere with this site).  A Special Protection Area (SPA) is also present on the sea side of the road at this location.

When the contractor is constructing the reinforced concrete (RC) walls in this area the width of excavation required is 3.6m wide into the road. In addition, 3.5 m is required for the storage of materials and the passage of plant. There is not enough room therefore to allow cars or pedestrians to pass the works site during construction.

The contractor’s sequence of works in this area is as follows:

  • Install Sheet piles on the south side of the Ring road. This is programmed to take 7 weeks to complete.
  • 4 weeks after starting the piling works start constructing the RC retaining walls on the north side of the road. This will take 20 weeks to complete
  • When the piling on the south side of the road is complete the piles required on the north side of the road will be installed
  • When the RC walls are complete the road raising can take place. This is programmed to take 5 weeks to complete.
  • The works are expected to take approximately 7 months in total to complete.· Install Sheet piles on the south side of the Ring road. This is programmed to take 7 weeks to complete.
  • 4 weeks after starting the piling works start constructing the RC retaining walls on the north side of the road. This will take 20 weeks to complete
  • When the piling on the south side of the road is complete the piles required on the north side of the road will be installed
  • When the RC walls are complete the road raising can take place. This is programmed to take 5 weeks to complete.
  • The works are expected to take approximately 7 months in total to complete.

Closure of the road for the above works is required as the piling rig will be set up on the road to carry out the piling on both sides and a large piling rig is required to drive piles through hard ground here. The construction of the RC walls and the build-up of road levels will also require full road closure.

As the road would constitute a construction site for the duration of these works, it could not be opened to the public out of normal working hours.

The OPW, its contractor and Cork County Council are anxious to carry out the above sequence of works in the shortest possible and continuous timeframe.  This would see the Ring Road works fully completed by February/March 2019. This would prevent an extension of the programme for the scheme and avoid a situation that works would take place on the Ring Road and in the Town Centre in 2019 simultaneously. There are also environmental constraints that in-river works can only take place between 1st May and 30th September.

Ward and Burke Construction Ltd submitted the road closure application on that basis. However, as environmental constraints apply to works in this location in the period from October to February the contractor is currently in discussion with the relevant authorities in relation to his planned programme of works.

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