Top officials of Sligo County Council have strongly refuted suggestions that the council is reluctant to prepare draft bye-laws to prohibit heavy goods vehicles using streets in an area near where the new eastern bridge is to be built across the Garavogue River.
Independent Councillor Declan Bree pointed out at the February monthly meeting of Sligo County Council that councillors had unanimously agreed six months ago to a motion calling for preparation of draft bye-laws to prohibit HGVs from using the road network through the Cranmore housing estate, Martin Savage Terrace, Doorly Park housing estates in Sligo town.
However, Council officials have said it is not known what impact the new bridge or approach roads would have, and that it might be premature to try to deal with consequences that are not known.
Last week, the council was notified of an allocation of €250,000 for the Eastern Garavogue Bridge Scheme.
Director of Services Tom Kilfeather told councillors this will allow the council to finalise design issues and prepare tender documents for the construction phase of the bridge.
He said the design process will also consider traffic impacts on the southern approach roads and suitable traffic calming measures, facilities for pedestrians and vulnerable road users.
It is estimated that the bridge scheme will take two years to construct.
The earliest it could go to construction would be in first half of 2021, with a possible completion date of mid-2023.
Mr Kilfeather said a team of staff will be put in place for all elements of the bridge and approach roads scheme, and the issue of any appropriate draft bye-laws would be included in the team’s work programme.
However, Cllr Bree said he had never mentioned the new bridge and he was now asking that draft bye-laws be prepared without further delay.
Council Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes said Cllr Bree seemed to infer the council executive was not implementing a council decision but he rejected that, and said the decision will be followed through in a professional manner.
Mr Hayes added that the executive was obliged to do this in an appropriate manner, have consultation and preparatory work done before that consultation.
Cllr Bree said whether the bridge goes ahead or not, the residents of the lower east ward are eager to see bye-laws introduced.
Mr Kilfeather said they had to ensure that whatever the council brings forward is done professionally, ‘irrespective of any perceptions that might be out there.’