On a seminal day for Waterford, ground was broken on the North Quays Public Infrastructure Project by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD.
The project comes following last November’s Government approval of €170.6m of investment in the North Quays Project, consisting of €100.6m of Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) funding and a further €70m from the Department of Transport through the National Transport Authority (NTA), which will open up access to the Strategic Development Zone (SDZ).
The public infrastructure works funded by the Government in the North Quays include enhanced multi-modal access routes, an integrated transport hub including the relocation of Waterford train station to a more convenient location, and the sustainable transport bridge. The sustainable transport bridge will link the reallocated train station to new walking and cycling infrastructure. These works will reduce the reliance on private car and facilitate alternative modes of transport for those accessing the area through the delivery of enhanced and integrated sustainable and active travel infrastructure.
The main contract for these infrastructure works was awarded to BAM in November 2022 and today’s ground breaking ceremony signals the commencement of substantial construction works which are expected to be completed in 2025.
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said, “Today is a momentous day for Waterford and the region. This breaking of ground represents more than just the start of works on access infrastructure in the city. It represents the start of Waterford’s renaissance.
“As Ireland’s oldest city, with a rich tapestry of over 1,000 years of history, today marks a new phase in Waterford’s story…one very much with its sights set on moving forward. This transformative project is set to act as a catalyst in assuring Waterford’s economic potency, along with delivering a myriad of environmental, social and tourism benefits to the Southeast.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said, “It’s an honour to be in Waterford today on what is a historic day as we break ground on what will be a new quarter for Ireland’s most ancient city. It will unlock the North Quays as a place for thousands of people to live, work, shop and visit. It will help Waterford to become a city of scale that can attract more investment, jobs and skills.
“This high quality, sustainable public infrastructure project in the heart of Waterford City, along with the attendant development of the North Quays Strategic Development Zone, is of huge economic and social importance to the city and the South-East.
“The infrastructure project will drive economic development and create jobs in Waterford and the wider region, and the development of the SDZ will enhance the city’s economic, commercial and tourist offering and improve the quality of life for people living in the city.
“The overall project is a great example of how we can make transformative improvements to our cities and towns with coordinated planning, along with public and private investment.
“Project Ireland 2040 is focused on balanced regional development and includes the target to grow Waterford at twice the rate of Dublin, by 50% by 2040. Breaking ground on the North Quays Public Infrastructure Project marks an important milestone in achieving that goal.”
The infrastructure will enable the commercial development on the SDZ Site, which will include offices, residential, retail, accommodation, and tourism investment in conference/exhibition facilities, as well as a 4-star hotel and visitor’s centre.
The proposed development also places a significant emphasis on improving the public realm through investment in new civic spaces, pedestrian facilities, and high-quality transport infrastructure which will connect Waterford and the Southeast greenways.
Waterford’s new state of the art Transport Hub will be unique in Ireland and will put Waterford at the forefront of integrated city centre transport infrastructure, with train, bus, taxi, cycling and car parking all in one location. The North Quays will be connected to the heart of the city centre by a new sustainable transport bridge for pedestrians, bicycles, and a courtesy bus service.
Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD said, “Last October I launched the Pathfinder Programme of 35 exemplar, sustainable mobility and public transport projects to be delivered by local authorities and agencies within the next three years. Today marks the start of the largest of all the pathfinder projects here at Waterford North Quays.
“This project is the essence of what a Pathfinder Project is all about; it’s creative, it’s ambitious, it’s people-centred. It will transform the vision that Waterford City and County Council has for the people of the town and the visitors who come here into a reality, delivering a sustainable, attractive and liveable place to live here on the North Quays and providing safe and accessible active travel connections, across the river into town, to the Waterford Greenway and the South East Technological University and indeed, in time, onto Cork through the new Inter-Urban link. It’s good planning and good transport in action, together.”
The commercial development of the site will be carried out by Harcourt Developments, a Dublin-based property development and management company with a broad portfolio of award-winning projects, including Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, Park West Plaza, and numerous shopping centres throughout the country.
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said, “This is a transformational project for Waterford. The North Quays is a site I have visited before and I think it is clear for all to see the potential for jobs, for investment, for commercial development and indeed for much needed residential development. I want to highly commend Waterford City and County Council for the work they have done on getting to this point.”
Alasdair Henderson, Executive Director, BAM Ireland commented, “The BAM team is delighted to be breaking ground today and look forward to working with Waterford City and County Council to deliver this sustainable infrastructure project that will positively impact the city environs for the people of Waterford.”
The development of the North Quays as a modern multi-purpose development on the North site of the city will increase employment, provide much needed high-quality residential units, enhance the retail offer and build on Waterford’s reputation as the Best Place to Live.
Photos – Free to use: Patrick Browne
Breaking ground at the North Quays Public Infrastructure Project in Waterford were Michael Walsh, Chief Executive Waterford City and County Council, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. John O’Leary and Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan