A NEW traffic management plan has come into place in Athlone, as part of the €4 million Church Street development project.
As the work moves down the street, towards St Peter and Paul's Church, those intending to park at the Prince of Wales hotel car park are no longer able to drive down Church Street.
Instead, traffic coming from the westside is required to go down Lloyd's Lane and up Friary Lane, while traffic approaching from the Irishtown direction is required to go down Griffith Street and up Friary Lane.
The builders are returning from holidays this week and are working to schedule, with a likely completion date of December, said the Manager of Athlone Municipal District Pat Keating.
“The section that will be worked on in the next few weeks is the corner of the Prince down to Lloyd's Lane,” he said.
“It will mean a new traffic management plan. Signals will be put in, exactly as there have been for the past few weeks. Those traffic signals will be controlling traffic coming up Friary Lane. There will be traffic lights at the Strand,” said Mr Keating.
He said that the feedback has been positive and people doing business in the centre of the town “are tending to park at the Strand”.
Mr Keating said the focus, from the council's point of view, has been on “minimum disruption to people”.
Communication has been good, he said, with weekly liaison meetings, the minutes of which are posted on the council's website, while updates have been provided at the monthly meetings of Athlone Municipal District.
“There is a constant line of communication open to people to let them know what's happening. Feedback has been largely positive because people see the quality of the project. It's progressing well,” said Mr Keating.
Regarding the December deadline for completion of the project, he said: “Ya. There is no reason to change that. The contractor tells us they are on schedule.”
The council is planning to erect a piece of sculpture to reflect the enhancement of the town. A budget of €60,000 has been set aside for the sculpture. The council has called for tenders from artists for what it describes as an “innovative piece of sculpture”.
As regards the timeframe for completion of this, Mr Keating said that they will work around the artist who is selected for the project.