Through traffic on Church Street in Athlone is set to cease for seven weeks from mid-March as the main work to upgrade and enhance the street gets underway.
Only local vehicular access will be allowed onto the street during the seven-week period - from mid-March to the end of April - in order to facilitate work at the Dublingate Street 'bottleneck'.
In a statement issued today (Tuesday), the council said it was preparing to "hand the street over" to the contractor for the €3 million project, John Cradock Ltd, from Monday next.
The contractor will then be responsible for traffic management during the project, which is expected to take nine months to complete.
At certain stages during the overall street enhancement project, the one-way traffic system through Church Street will be diverted through The Stand, via Griffith Street.
However during the seven-week spell, from mid-March, only local traffic will be allowed on Church Street in order to allow for construction work at the top of Griffith Street and Dublingate Street. Pedestrian access will not be affected.
During these seven weeks, both east-bound and west-bound traffic through Athlone town will be instructed to use the council's 'Orange Loop' route via the Crescent and Southern Station Road.
Local traffic arrangements are to be put in place around Church Street which will include allowing a temporary restoration of some east-bound traffic at Custume Place.
"If someone is coming up Northgate Street, and is staying at the Prince of Wales Hotel, for example, that person will be able to turn left onto Church Street and drive up to the Prince of Wales as part of the temporary local traffic arrangement," said council official Pat Keating.
"The contractor will be responsible for the detailed traffic management plans and those will have to be approved by us."
While the seven-week work period is underway, vehicular access to The Strand and Griffith Street will be from Church Street, via Lloyd's Lane or Friary Lane only.
"It is a nuisance for those residents (in the Griffith Street area) and we acknowledge that. The one-way system is a long-term traffic solution but this is a temporary measure to allow work take place and unfortunately it is more disruptive."
In general, Mr Keating said the one-way system on Church Street had been working "relatively well" since its introduction on February 15.
"Traffic has been flowing relatively well along the new Orange Loop and we would like to sincerely thank the local community for their patience and support during this important development project. We apologise for any inconvenience," he said.