The first underground crossing of the River Shannon has been completed as part of the Athlone Main Drainage Scheme.

Uisce Éireann’s (formerly Irish Water) delivery partner Ward & Burke Construction began the tunnelling works in September last year. There are two more tunnelling phases to complete. The next phase of tunnelling will start this week, from Burgess Park to Wolf Tone Terrace, followed by the final phase from Golden Island to Paynes Lane where a receiving shaft has been built. Tunnelling is expected to be finished this summer.

Uisce Éireann, in partnership with Westmeath County Council, is installing nearly 3km of underground sewer pipes in a €114m project to reduce the risk of sewer flooding in the town of Athlone and improve water quality in the River Shannon.

Construction of the pumping station at Golden Island is also under way, including a 20m-deep shaft.

Eunan Canavan, portfolio manager at Uisce Éireann, described the completion of the first tunnel under the River Shannon as “a massive milestone”.

“The pumping station construction at Golden Island is also progressing well with work now well underway to sink the walls of the shaft to the correct level, which is a huge 20 meters below ground level. We are on track to have the base and internal walls completed on target. It isn’t very visible to the local community how much progress we are making as so much of this construction work is underground,” he said.

The Athlone Main Drainage Scheme is expected to be completed in Q4 of 2025.