Westmeath County Council has assured residents in the Coosan that the ongoing replacement work on the water main in the area will be concluded by February 3.
However, it has emerged that the only the reinstatement of the strips of road where piping was laid is the responsibility of the contractor.
The contractor is not responsible for remedying any pot holes which may have emerged on the roads during the construction phase or resolving any general deterioration of the road surface. Instead, Westmeath County Council will take on any such work.
Senior Engineer Greg Duggan told members of the Athlone area committee of Westmeath County Council on Tuesday that the contract would finish on time.
He explained that the remaining work involved the laying of 140 metres of piping in a cul-de-sac in the region while 17 individual house connections have also to be completed.
He said the council plans to have the project completed, including the reinstatement of verges and road surfaces by February 3.
Earlier Cllr Alan Shaw stressed, having been contacted by the local tidy towns, the importance of having the road verges properly reinstated. And he praised what he said had been an improvement in the council's communications with the public.
Cllr Kevin 'Boxer' Moran said he hoped the council had learned a lot from the saga.
There had been "several cock-ups" along the way, he stressed. And he pointed out that much of the road network in the area needed repairing.
He asked for an assurance the project would be completed by February 3, including proper reinstatement of roads, footpaths and verges, pointing out that in some previous projects roads had not been returned to previous condition.
Cllr Gabrielle McFadden wondered if the council could hold back full payment if the roads were not restored.
In reply Mr Duggan said the Coosan water main project was "a fixed price lump sum contract" and it would not be possible to withhold payment.
Pressed by Cllr Moran, Town Engineer Alan Kelly confirmed the contractor was only obliged to restore the section or strip of road above where the pipe was laid.
Pot holes and road deterioration in the area was the responsibility of the council, he told Cllr Moran. "I don't think it's that bad, I think we can deal with it," he said.
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