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Work to start on N5 and other construction projects


BACK ON TRACKTom Gilligan has said Mayo County Council are due to start work on a number of construction sites from next Monday.

Leaving Lockdown

Anton McNulty

WORK on the €241 million N5 Westport-to-Turlough road is due to recommence on Monday, May 18. A number of other infrastructure projects around the county are also set to restart.
Mayo County Council has confirmed that work on a number of its housing projects is also ready to recommence after almost two months’ stagnation due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
As part of the Government’s roadmap to easing Covid-19 restrictions, outdoor workers will be allowed to return to work. Tom Gilligan, Director of Services in Mayo County Council said that all involved are anxious to get back out on site.
“Barring any rollback, come May 18 we are expecting work to recommence on a number of sites. The N5 Westport-to-Turlough site is one example, and in relation to housing sites, there are 27 units along the Kilkelly Road in Swinford that will be restarting. We are making sure everything is in place and ready to recommence.
“Initially, there was talks that things might be opened up on May 5, so we were already working towards some date. It is welcome that a firm date is now in place and we can work towards that. It is our strategy and goal at the moment to recommence on May 18. Hopefully it will be a busy few weeks ahead.”
Mr Gilligan, who is responsible for housing and roads in Mayo County Council, said the council is anxious to start work on a number of housing projects in the county. As well as the 27 units in Swinford, the other main schemes for 2020 include 18 units in Ballyhaunis and 16 in Ballinrobe.
The new N5 Westport-to-Turlough dual carriageway is the biggest investment in Mayo in the history of the State. The contract for the construction of the project was awarded to a Wills-BAM joint venture in November.
Preliminary works on the project had begun before the lockdown, and Mr Gilligan said he expected the main earthworks to start shortly after May 18.
In relation to the Council’s Roadworks Scheme for 2020, Mr Gilligan described this year’s programme as extensive, with an expenditure of €91 million compared to €53 million for 2019. He lamented not being able to complete some of the resurfacing and strengthening work during the recent ‘fantastic weather’, but is confident that when they are up and running they will have the programme completed by the end of the year.
Mr Gilligan added that while sites were closed down due to restrictions, work on future projects continued ‘behind the scenes’.

New safety training
In addition to the standard health-and-safety requirements, Mr Gilligan said all staff will be trained on adhering to Covid-19 protocols before going on site.
“Working with our health-and-safety team we have drawn up a number of statements of practice in relation to that [Covid-19]. Yes it will be [difficult] but there will be an induction for staff, who will be trained on the new protocols going forward, and that will be critical as well.
“There will be changes in relation to staff going out on site. We have had to refit our crew cabs as well, where we have put in extra protection inside the cab with perspex screening,” he said. “Staff will have to be much more mindful of Covid when they return to work to ensure the protocols are adhered to. The training will be given, and we are confident we will adhere to all the restrictions and guidelines.
“Health and safety is paramount, and that is the key criteria for our staff and citizens going forward.”