O’Connell Street Enhancement Project
The O’Connell Street Enhancement Project contributes to the Sustainable Urban Development Theme of the ERDF co-funded Border, Midland and Western Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020.
The O’Connell Street Enhancement project will see the refurbishment of Sligo’s busiest commercial zone and pedestrian thoroughfare and will contribute to the creation of a vibrant, sustainable inner-city core, a place where people will want to re-locate to, where locals want to remain, where emigrants want to return and where business and employers want to settle. This project is the initial step in the provision of the global public realm strategy for Sligo city and is considered a flagship project on which the design ethos and rational for other projects shall be based.
According to the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Martin Baker
‘This is a very welcome project and will transform the centre of Sligo. It will promote economic development by the provision of a more attractive urban environment, making Sligo more appealing for investors and workers alike.’
Sligo County Council’s Director of Services Tom Kilfeather says the project is about more than the enhancement of the streetscape:
‘The works will include substantial measures to cater for future smart-technologies that may be employed for the exchange of data in the city area. There are positive developments all over County Sligo and our local communities have benefited from significant capital funding on a range of major road projects.’
Upgrading Water Services
In order to deliver a successful project outcome a number of milestones needed to be achieved prior to construction commencing. It was fundamentally important that the upgrade of the water services on O’Connell Street were completed in advance of the current project.
The Council and Irish Water engaged in a detailed collaboration to secure the completion of the water and sewer network upgrade for the street. The works were completed in September 2017.
It was recognised that one of the key stakeholders for the project are the business and property owners on the Street, each of whom were invited to attend information evenings where the projected was presented and considered. Detailed discussions were concluded and feedback received from the Business and Property owners which has influenced the design.
Background Information – Project Details and Work Programme
Sligo County Council procured an Engineering Consultant, O’Connor Sutton Cronin (OCSC) in October of 2017 to progress the design and tender of the project. Preliminary investigative work in terms of topographical survey, existing utility service location and archaeological assessments were completed in early 2018.
Extensive collaboration between telecommunication firms such as EIR, Virgin Media, Enet etc, has been completed. Sligo County Council in conjunction with these utility providers has established a common ground for the provision of an underground service pack. Further consultations have been concluded with advisory bodies such as, the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), National Council for the Blind (NCI), Bus Eireann, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS). Their concerns have been addressed and their recommendations have informed the design.
The main design ethos is to create an improved pedestrian zone by enhancing the quality and attractiveness of the urban environment, while concurrently creating a permeable interconnected metropolitan space that will facilitate commercial and residential opportunities for the undeveloped and underutilised sites on O'Connell Street.
The project will encompass works on O’Connell Street with associated tie-in on Grattan Street/John Street. Works will be carried out on Wine Street and shall extend along Lower Knox Street. The project will involve the construction of wider pedestrian footpaths in granite paving, provision of dedicated disabled parking areas, services areas, and public transport facilities, together with the construction new urban road layout. The project includes the provision of high quality public lighting. New pedestrian facilities will be provided including new traffic signals and pedestrian crossings. A significant underground service pack shall be provided as part of the project. Landscaping shall be provided in the form of trees.
These proposals define a notable transition to pedestrian priority for O’Connell Street. With the exception of two disabled parking bays no other parking facilities shall be provided on the street. With this approach the practice of ad-hoc parking on the street shall be eliminated. This, combined with the strategy of increased reliance on public transport, will reduce air pollution and lower noise levels.
The formal tender process was concluded in December of 2018. ShareRidge Ltd. have been formally appointed as the works contractor for the execution and completion of the works. ShareRidge Ltd. has their head quarters in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. They have worked nationally on projects of a similar size and nature to this scheme, including major projects such as the Bray and Wicklow Town Centre Landscape Improvements, and Parnell and Davis Street Regeneration Projects in Limerick.
The initial source of funding for the Project has been provided from the European Regional Development Fund under the Designated Urban Centres Grant Scheme. The Department of Planning, Housing and Local Government are providing funding under the Granmore Regeneration Scheme and the recently announced Urban Regeneration and Development Scheme. Additionally, the Department of Rural and Community Development has committed financial resources to the project.
For further information:
Contact Paul O’Rourke, Senior Executive Engineer firstname.lastname@example.org 071 9111490