Landmark wastewater project in Athlone progressing to next stage
21 November 2023
Major upgrade to wastewater collection system will facilitate sustainable growth and development
As Athlone, the bustling town in the heart of Ireland, prepares for Christmas, Uisce Éireann, working in partnership with Westmeath County Council will ring in the New Year with the next stage of this crucial wastewater scheme. Progressing the installation of almost 3kms of underground sewer pipes will bring the Athlone Main Drainage Scheme one step closer to the ultimate goal of reducing the risk of sewer flooding in Athlone, whilst addressing non-compliant sewer overflows to the River Shannon.
The tunnelling works which began in September in the Deerpark/Showgrounds area of Athlone are scheduled for completion in early 2024. The next phase of the project will involve the commencement of tunnelling works at Burgess Park, The Strand, and the Upper Shannon Crossing, which will begin in January. Micro-tunnelling, an innovative technique used to install larger pipelines underground, will also be utilised during this section of works to minimise disruption to the community and on the environment.
Preparation works to facilitate the underground tunnelling works is currently underway at several locations in Athlone, including the diversion of services in order to minimise the impact on the local community. These locations include: Paynes Lane, Wolf Tone Terrace/Griffith St, The Strand Car Park, and The Quay (back of Sean’s Bar). While these works are in progress, temporary traffic management measures will be put in place.
Commenting on the importance of this phase of the project, Eunan Canavan, Portfolio Manager at Uisce Éireann, said: “We are delighted that this essential capital investment for the people of Athlone has made so much progress over the last twelve months, and we look forward to moving on to the next phase in January of next year. “Athlone’s vibrant historical legacy is never far away. As we progressed with the sewer upgrade, we were delighted to have uncovered part of the town’s proud history.
Under the Strand Car Park, historical artefacts such as pottery sherds, a clay tobacco pipe, and glass fragments were discovered, likely from the latter half of the17th century together with some sherds of medieval pottery.”
Eunan added: “While Uisce Éireann is honoured to be part of future-proofing Athlone’s wastewater infrastructure for generations to come, it is equally important to us to protect and preserve the abundant history of times past, so that it can be experienced by current generations.”
Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Liam McDaniel added: “I am delighted to see the significant progress made throughout 2023 and the commencement of the next vital phase of the project in January. The provision of adequate wastewater infrastructure, not only for our existing population but for our future growth, is vital so that we are ready to meet the opportunities of the coming years. I would like to thank Uisce Éireann and Westmeath County Council and commend them for their hard work, 24/7, to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services.”
Ward and Burke Construction Ltd is delivering the Athlone Main Drainage Scheme on behalf of Uisce Éireann Ltd and the scheme is expected to be completed in Q4 of 2025.
Uisce Éireann will continue to engage with the local community throughout the duration of the project. For more information, visit the project page at www.water.ie/projects-plans/athlone-main-drainage-scheme/.
Uisce Éireann is responsible for delivering public drinking water and wastewater services for the people of Ireland. We are committed to enabling communities to thrive by continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure to support sustainable growth and development, providing safe drinking water, and enhancing the environment.