The contract for work on the M7 motorway is on schedule, Kildare County Councillors have been told after expressing frustration with traffic delays.
Questions were raised about the delays on at the Council’s monthly meeting on October 22.
Cllr Suzanne Doyle asked about progress and the possibility of increasing work hours to complete it “at the earliest time possible.”
She asked if the work was on target and said it was extending journey times for a lot of people.
Cllr Teresa Murray questioned weekend work and was told that there was none at the moment but it was possible there will be.
Cllr Anthony Larkin suggested trucks should not be allowed on the outside lane during the works, as was a practice abroad.
Members were told the M7 works are scheduled for completion in April 2019, while the M7 Osberstown interchange is scheduled for completion by the end of October 2019.
But officials said there are problems with trying to speed up the contract, including health and safety at night time, the law on working hours and extra costs due to overtime.
In a report to members, Evelyn Wright, SEO, said the contractor is contracted by Kildare County Council to complete the project within the period they tendered (contract period). “The contractor is responsible for both managing the programme and resourcing the project to complete within the contract period. Instructing the contractor to increase operational hours would result in additional costs (overtime payments and overhead contributions) to the Contract. These are unquantifiable at this point but could potentially expose Kildare County Council to significant additional liabilities.
Increasing operational hours may include additional night working. Night working can provide productivity gains but also has potential drawbacks in terms of reduced safety, poorer quality, reduced productivity, etc. It is up to the contractor to consider these factors.
She said on the M7, upgrade night working is occurring for some activities eg. constructing drainage crossings and placing pavement layers. “The Working Time Directive restricts the operational hours individuals are legally allowed to work to an average of 48 per week (unless they voluntarily choose to opt out).
Therefore the contractor cannot force workers to increase their working hours above 48 per week on average and Kildare County Council cannot insist on increased
“As previously stated the contractor is responsibility for resourcing the project. Managing a project of this size includes significant site overheads. This provides a
significant incentive to complete the project as quickly as possible.”