It has emerged that Councillors have vigorously questioned Council officials ahead of the critical vote on Thursday 28 January on whether the estimated 2 years' of roadworks will take place through Tipperary Town. Councillors are frustrated that important answers were not provided. Only a vote of the Councillors can approve the works, but serious questions remain unanswered that would allow Councillors to assess the possible impacts on their constituents before they decide how to vote.
Councillors raised a series of important questions with Tipperary County Council officials recently regarding the proposed roadworks. It is of serious concern that a number of key questions remain unanswered. For example, officials stated when asked by Councillors that they:
- Do not know how long the roadworks are expected to take. It emerged that the stated upper expectation of 2 years is merely an estimate and may not be correct;
- Do not know how deep the excavation of the streets will need to be;
- Do not know what ducting will be laid underground;
- Do not know what the final traffic management plan for the works will be;
- Do not know what other diversion routes may be used or how and when they may be used;
- Did not carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Only a screening was conducted, which is only the first phase of a full EIA;
- Do not know the location, extent or duration of the individual work sites;
- Do not know if the pipes needed to upgrade the water and sewage network for houses along Sean Allen Terrace will be installed during the works. If these pipes are not laid during the roadworks, the road and paths will need to be dug up to install them later. Currently, although there is "in principle" agreement with Irish Water, laying of these pipes is not part of the proposed works;
- Do not know if night time work will occur;
- Do not know what will be found underground when the work is underway as no geophysical or utilities surveys have been carried out; and
- Do not know where street furniture will be placed in relation to shop entances or residences.
In further answers to Councillors' questions it emerged that:
- There will be no compensation or rates waiver for businesses affected by the roadworks;
- Cycle lanes will not be provided;
- There will be no bus stop on Main Street;
- They may or may not use legal powers to take ownership of footpaths along Lower Father Matthew Street that currently belong to householders; and
- There will be no loading bay in all of Bank Place and only one on all of Main Street.
This vote takes place on Thursday morning and it seems that Councillors will not be able to assess the possible impacts of the roadworks on the community and business sector, including the possible loss of jobs. It appears that the officials are pressing Councillors to approve the works, regardless of the missing information. Some Councillors have expressed deep concerns about the impact the works will have on the town, one stating that it "will destroy the town".
If you would like to contact your local Councillors ahead of Thursday's vote, their contact details (as published on the Council website) can be found HERE.