It will be the middle of next year before Laois County Council have completed roadworks on the Borris Road in Portlaoise, meaning that there could be further road closures over the coming months.
At County Hall last week it was revealed that “most” of the work can be carried out without closing the road, although a one-way traffic flow will be in place for some of it. It also emerged that Laois County Council are blaming a government clause on contract work as the reason why the latest works on the Borris Road were not carried out before the new school term began.
The meeting of Portlaoise Town Council heard that the county council has so far received €2.5 million for the works, with €1.5 million needed to complete the job. However, a specific condition of their receiving the money is that some of the work has to go out to tender.
Portlaoise town manager, Mr Michael Rainey explained that the council initially received €750,000 for the works, but this was not enough.
He said that with regards to the next round of funding the council had not expected a clause on putting the work out to tender to be imposed, and it had taken time to agree a contract.
However, mayor of Portlaoise, Cllr Willie Aird said he thought the county council’s response required a special meeting, as the town council were previously given a guarantee that the works would be completed before the schools opened.
“That’s the official response, but we don’t know that, we weren’t informed,” he said. “We have to think long and hard about closing the Borris Road again.”
Cllr Aird said it would not be practical to go back to a one-way traffic system for the whole of the school term.
“Fair play has to come into it. We’re trying to defend the indefensible,” he said.
“That response means they will be doing work there for the whole school term,” pointed out an incredulous Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald.
Meanwhile, Cllr Kathleen O’Brien said there had been “murder” last year on the Borris Road over the poor management of traffic at the schools.