A new road improvement scheme will reduce the number of road traffic fatalities in Belturbet.
The N3 Butlersbridge to Belturbet Road Improvement Scheme comprises the construction of a single road carriageway that measures approximately 6.7 kilometres.
Cavan County Council and the National Roads Authority are responsible for the scheme, which will see important improvements made along the Belturbet Town bypass in order to make the route safer for road users. Once completed, the main road will be 7.3 metres wide with 2m x 2.5m hard shoulders and 3 metre wide verges.
The existing route is an important transport link for the area but has seen a number of serious injuries and fatalities over the last ten years.
Cavan County Council Project Manager, Brendan Jennings, said: “I’ve worked locally around the area of Belturbet for years and I have had to deal with a number of fatalities along the route. Hopefully the scheme will reduce the number of accidents and make the area a much safer route.”
Work commenced on the €23 million Design and Build project in May 2011 in a joint venture between main contractors Ferrovial Agroman Ireland and PT McWilliams.
As the site crosses through a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a number of environmental concerns have arisen during the project. In particular, two large bogs – Putiaghan Bog and Aghnaguig Bog – are within close proximity to the ongoing construction work.
An extensive amount of planning work has taken place over the last 10 years in order to preserve the area. A bridge will be constructed over the Putiaghan bog, whilst special considerations will be taken for the Aghnaguig Bog.
Also included in the project is the construction of a separate bridge over the River Erne. The structure is a three-span bridge that measures approximately 141 metres long and has a central span of 69 metres, with two side spans each measuring 36 metres. The bridge will be the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland when it is completed.
A testing process is currently taking place on the cables that will be used to support the structure and the next stage of the project will see a large number of excavation works taking place across the scheme. Public lighting will also be installed in order to renew and replace existing facilities.
Brendan Jennings added:
“The biggest issues we have experienced concern the environmental aspects of the project and so we are making sure that we comply with every procedure that has been set out as part of the original contract.
“We have several environmental specialists on site, including ecologists, hydrologists and hydrogeologists. Each of these specialists is involved in monitoring every inch of the scheme, with an example of this being the work that is underway at the Aghnaguig Bog.
“The ground water and surface water at the bog are very low in nutrients and this is something that has to be maintained, especially when piling working is being conducted. There is a risk that when puncturing through the separate layers of the bog the different types of water could mix, so numerous trials are taking place to stop this from happening.
“We’ve been involved with schemes like this before, but in terms of the different elements that are involved here it is a very unique project.”
The N3 Butlersbridge to Bulterbet Road Improvement Scheme is scheduled for completion in April 2013.