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Dublin: 17 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019
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The Clontarf sea wall is changing again - and people and businesses in the area aren't happy

“I want it to finish. I don’t quite know how we will survive as I am struggling to even pay wages.”

Clontarf
Clontarf
Image: Rachael Kellegher

BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS have said that they are deeply unhappy about newly-announced plans to carry out a further 12 months of construction on the flood defence wall in Clontarf in Dublin.

The wall has been at the centre of a long-running dispute after some residents were strongly critical of its height. The wall, built as part of the €5 million Clontarf cycle path, would obscure the sea views which the coastal road is renowned for, residents argued.

Work on the wall, which was due to be completed this month after two years of construction, is now expected to resume next month in order to reduce the height of the flood defence wall by up to 30cm along a half kilometre stretch facing St Anne’s Park.

It is reported that the wall height is being reduced to allow motorists have unrestricted views of the sea.

Residents and business owners in the area say that the traffic complications from the wall work has caused major problems.

A staff member from a clothing shop situated on the coast road said that business has been directly affected by the construction due to the traffic congestion associated with the road works.

“The ten weeks running up to Christmas should be our busiest period, however for the last two years it has been a complete disaster,” she said. “Customers that have been coming to us for years have told us how they have to avoid coming to us now because of the difficulties with traffic.”

Construction on the cycle path had been due for completion in July last year but was delayed due to the lengthy dispute.

20170411_121517 Source: Rachael Kellegher

The reduction in the flood wall, which is being undertaken as a separate project, is unable to commence until May this year at the earliest due to environmental restrictions.

Local resident Caroline Barry of Clontarf Road said that a lot of residents feel there has been no consideration made for those living in the affected area.

“There seems to be no rush in finishing this wall despite it having a massive impact on local residents and their daily commute. Bus routes have been altered and changed which has caused a huge build- up of traffic and subsequently extreme delays getting to and from work.

“A lot of us have been left disappointed with the lack of planning and communication with this lengthy build.”

‘It’s not worth the trouble’

Dublin City Council had originally planned to maintain traffic access along the coast road throughout the construction period, reducing it to one lane, with a stop-go system at certain times. However, a 24-hour shut down of the road occurred for a week at a time on two separate occasions during October last year in an attempt to expedite completion of the project.

Another resident Rachel Green from the affected area said that the lowering of the floodwall will only extend the difficulties for residents.

“Thirty centimetres of an extra view for motorists and residents is not worth the trouble we have gone through travelling to and from home for the past 2 years. Commuting to work is extended by anything up to 30 minutes at rush hour.”

The partial demolition of the newly built wall is expected to cost an additional €500,000 and is expected to take six to eight weeks to complete.

‘I want it to finish’

Yang’s restaurant, situated in the affected area explained that they have been struggling to meet rent and overhead costs due to a lack of customers.

“I want it to finish. I don’t quite know how we will survive as I am struggling to even pay wages. Nobody is considering how this is affecting us,” said Gillian, the owner of Yang’s.

“The council communicated with us in the beginning, but we were led to think this would take only a few months. Now, it’s two years later and the roads directly outside my restaurant have been closed for weeks at a time.”

Local Fine Gael councillor Naoise O’ Muiri acknowledged the issue facing businesses.

“I accept wholly the visible concerns expressed by businesses in the affected area that it has been a major disruption.

“However, at this final stage there should be a lot less construction impact to the road itself as the work should be confined to the wall in particular, rather than the road, the walkway and the cycle path.”

Local Fianna Fail Councillor Sean-Paul Mahon, who supports the continued construction, said he believes a lot of hassle could have been avoided.

“The big mistake in the first place with this project was not explaining the details to home and business owners in the area. Clear communication in the beginning would have saved the council a lot of time and money.”

The work to reduce the height of the wall will not be undertaken at weekends or during peak commuting times to lessen the impact on cyclists and walkers using the new path.

Read: Clontarf residents object to ‘mindless’ destruction of tram shelter

Read: Locals who objected to housing scheme given cash back after developer screw-up

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About the author:

Rachael Kellegher

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