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20/09/2010

River Lagan To Be Dredged

Work to ensure Belfast's main river does not become "smelly" again is to begin shortly.

The Stormont Social Development Minister Alex Attwood has announced that the River Lagan will be extensively dredged - cleaning up both the iconic river and creating jobs at the same time.

The £2.8m contract, awarded to local firm Graham Construction, will see dredging on the river for the first time since 1994 - which was as part of work to build the Lagan Weir.

The project will create 28 jobs. It will start mid-September and is due to finish spring 2011.

The work involves thousands of tonnes of silt being removed by diggers and disposed off at an approved location out at sea. The river will be initially closed to navigation for safety reasons during the period of the contract. However, after consultation with river users the works will be completed on a sectional basis with the first section being handed over to river users after six weeks.
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Alex Attwood said: "This is a significant boost for river users and local residents. This latest investment follows on the back of the successful refurbishment of the Lagan Weir and represents DSD's continuing commitment to the River Lagan.

"The economic benefits of the regeneration of the Lagan have been well documented and they have been a part of the catalyst for hundreds of millions of pounds of development and regeneration along its banks.

"It is estimated that this project will give full time employment to 28 people and as the work will be carried out by a local contractor it is hoped it will give a boost to the NI construction sector.

"The timing of the dredge is opportune as it is hoped the river’s water quality will also benefit from the end of the Belfast Sewer Project recently completed by NI Water and this combined with the removal of organic silt will further improve the quality of the river."

More details and updates on navigation arrangements, river closures and a noise pollution hotline will be posted on the DSD website on an ongoing basis.

(GK/KMcA)

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