It’s with great frustration I can confirm that repair works on Caragh Bridge may take until December to complete. We still can’t have an exact time frame but I’m told three months is at the upper end of the estimates.
The Council statement on the bridge closure in Caragh issued yesterday is as follows:
For safety reasons it was necessary to close Carragh bridge last Saturday evening (22nd August). The bridge sustained substantial damage when an agricultural vehicle struck the parapet and Kildare County Council had no option but to close the bridge until repairs can be carried out.
Carragh Bridge is a very old bridge and is actually classified as a protected structure and a recorded monument (ref KD019-012). The Council has to have regard for this status in order to get the necessary approvals to carry out the required repairs and it is likely that this will lengthen the duration of the closure. It is expected that it could take 3 months before the bridge will be fit to re-open. In the meantime the Council will consider options whereby some pedestrian / cyclist access could be offered during the closure.
The Council appreciates that the closure of the bridge is an inconvenience to road users and to the community in Carragh and surrounding areas. Please be assured that every effort will be made to reopen the bridge as soon as it is safe to do so.
Although the work is tricky and intricate, I believe the big unknown in this timeline will be the red tape that needs to be cut at the Department of Environment. I’ll make every effort possible to see they’re treating this emergency work as a priority (and I genuinely hope they prove me wrong on the red tape comment!)
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MEANTIME:
Safety is number one concern
I am in continuous contact with KCC engineers and will meet or chat with anyone who has a concern over any safety aspect of these arrangements. Already several additional saftey enhancements have been made at the request of myself or local residents e.g. Traffic lights at Malone’s Bridge and additional signage on the detour route. If you have an opinion on how the safety of these routes could be improved, please let me know.
Traffic Management efforts are ongoing
We continue to ask drivers to take alternative routes where possible (e.g. I’ve encouraged Mondello traffic to approach track from North end to alleviate some traffic coming through the village). Lights have been established on the route and KFM/AA Roadwatch will be informed of any changes/issues.
In less than a week, the National Roads Office have already confirmed increased traffic levels on arterial routes coming into Naas. This is before schools are back, highlighting further the need for repairs to be done as soon as possible.
For any parents bringing children to school from the Naas direction, you now also have the option to walk across the bridge. Fencing has been put in place to allow pedestrian access across the bridge. Given the increased journey time along the detour route this may be a viable option for some parents. For others who might not have the time to walk their children the distance from bridge to school you might consider setting up a “walking bus” with other parents.
We Need to Support Our Local Businesses
Businesses in Caragh will be under serious pressure as a result of the bridge closure. These are our neighbours and friends who are facing reduced sales, staff hours being cut and bills not being paid. Please make every effort to spend locally where possible over the coming weeks!
This disruption doesn’t suit anyone. Around Caragh there is increased frustration, worry and even anxiety about the impact this will have on our community. Let’s support each other and act with one voice in calling for every effort to be made in getting the bridge re-opened and keeping our roads safe in the meantime.
(If anyone would like to speak to me, if you have an idea to improve this process or even if you just want to vent your frustration you’ll reach me on Facebook, Twitter, Email or mobile all available on this website).