Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The 220-metre-long Sustainable Transport Bridge will link the North Quays to the redesigned South Quay Plaza at the Clock Tower. 

WITH the extension of the Waterford Greenway now visibly in evidence both along the Bilberry section and at Meagher’s Quay, the South Quay enabling works contract was due to commence yesterday (Monday, May 9).

A briefing document released following the 22nd meeting of the North Quays Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) Steering Group noted that Suir Plant Ltd will be responsible for these works.

Addressing last Wednesday’s Piltown Municipal District meeting in Ferrybank, Kilkenny County Council Economic Director of Services Sean McKeown said these works will facilitate the delivery of the Sustainable Transport Bridge’s ‘landing area’.

Yesterday, Cunmor Construction Ltd was also due to commence its rock stablisation works contract for an area north of Plunkett Railway Station.

In terms of a potential SDZ developer, Mr McKeown said there was “no real change” on that front, with Waterford City & County Council “still in active dialogue” with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and the Land Development Agency (LDA).

The tender period for the main construction infrastructure works for the North Quays – including the bridge, the Transport Hub and SDZ Access Infrastructure Works – has been extended to Friday, May 27.

Said Mr McKeown: “There were five contractors shortlisted for tendering… and Waterford (Council) would hope to be in a position shortly after May 27 to appoint a contractor for the main construction works.”

In reply to Cllr Tomás Breathnach’s (Lab) query about the May 27 extension, Mr McKeown said that such an extension wasn’t unusual “given the detail and queries that might arise for a contract of that scale”. These works are in excess of €130 million.

Sean McKeown added: “It’s likely that one of the options that Waterford are now looking at is a more phased development (on the North Quays) as the previous contract that they had for the commercial aspects of the SDZ development… was one ‘big bang’ approach that the previous contractor was responsible for. It might be an option now that Waterford will enter into separate contracts for separate developers for a phased approach, that’s one of the options they’re looking at.”

Meanwhile, tender documents have been issued for the widening of the Abbey Road footpaths, which are due to be returned by Friday, May 20.

With a temporary car park for the South East Greenway being made available just off the Abbey Road by Waterford City & County Council if required, Mr McKeown said such widening would provide a safer crossing point. This may lead to the installation of a zebra crossing or a traffic signaled crossing point but this will be examined if and when the time demands it.

Mr McKeown stressed: “The public realm works are needed to enable the commercial development. They haven’t changed in any way.”

District Chairperson Cllr Pat Dunphy (FG) welcomed the news that matters remain in train for the site, adding: “Over time, I would imagine that (the SDZ) will develop. The plus out of all this is the infrastructure; there’s a lot of work going into it and that’ll be good for the whole area.”

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