Council exploring alternatives to Achill bridge

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS The situation for the proposed greenway bridge on Achill Island.

Tender for controversial bridge was 3 times its finances

Edwin McGreal

Mayo County Council are exploring short-term various routes to a greenway bridge in Achill which has grow to be mired in a funding controversy.
Plans for a forty five metre span suspended cycle bridge at Springvale, Achill Sound turned nationwide information when it emerged final December that Mayo County Council had falsely claimed it was accomplished, drawing down €200,000 in authorities funding in 2019.
Nevertheless, the bridge remains to be not in place and it faces an unsure future. Mayo County Council are taking a look at various routes within the short-term, together with going out onto the close by principal street.
The bridge is the lacking hyperlink to attach the Achill Island Greenway from Achill Sound to Saula, which is an extension of the Nice Western Greenway from Westport to Achill.
The council utilized for €200,000 in funding from the Division of Rural and Neighborhood Growth’s Out of doors Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS). They submitted the bridge would price €250,000 and due to this fact utilized for the utmost of 80 p.c of the venture’s price.
On October 31, 2019 the council signed a declaration submitting that the bridge was constructed and drew down the €200,000 Division funding.
Nevertheless, following a Division audit which commenced in March 2020, the Division discovered no building work had commenced on the bridge and the spend so far had been solely €32,000, regarding underground ducting {and professional} charges.
Moreover, the Division revealed that the tender for the bridge got here in at 3 times the finances estimate.
The council had been subsequently compelled to return the €200,000, leaving the plans at a crossroads. In response to questions from The Mayo Information, the council say they’re nonetheless searching for to assemble a bridge at Springvale.
“Mayo County Council want to affirm that we’re dedicated to advancing the supply of a footbridge at Springvale, on the Achill Greenway. This venture would require grant funding and  additional work must be carried out to evaluation the venture and to determine clear costings with a view to creating such an utility for funding,” the council said.
At present Mayo County Council are frozen out of all funding schemes from the Division of Rural and Neighborhood Growth, pending opinions.

Major street
Building is ongoing on a greenway connecting Saula to Cashel which is able to full a 5km stretch from Achill Sound however the lacking hyperlink is the bridge at Springvale.
The council affirm they’re taking a look at choices, together with diverting cyclists out onto the primary R319 street by way of Achill, then turning proper onto the L5443 Springvale/Saula street.
“Within the quick time period, Mayo County Council are inspecting various routes, together with the choice of utilizing the prevailing county street to facilitate use of the route within the months forward. We’re progressing with the work to make sure that the 5km part of Greenway from Achill Sound to Cashel might be open this yr,” said the council.
In the meantime, the council say they’re additionally ‘dedicated’ to bringing a greenway from Bertra to Louisburgh. The council needed to hand again €250,000 for the Bertra to Lecanvey part and €624,000 for the Previous Head to Louisburgh part after Division inspections discovered that building had not commenced on both part, regardless of the council claiming on the contrary.
“Mayo County Council are dedicated to the event of a Greenway between Bertra and Louisburgh. The venture might be carried out in accordance with TII’s (Transport Infrastructure Eire) Code of Finest Observe, which is able to contain public session and identification and evaluation of route choices,” they stated.
It was confirmed not too long ago that TII will take over greenway tasks from the council and can proceed to obligatory buy orders if wanted.


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