Government approval of €170.6m investment in Waterford’s North Quays paves way for Ireland’s largest urban regeneration project

The Government has today given approval for €170.6m of investment in the Waterford North Quays Infrastructure Project. This project will improve sustainable access between Waterford’s North Quays and the city centre (south of the river Suir) and enable development at the North Quays’ Strategic Development Zone (SDZ).

Opening up the SDZ site is expected to increase economic activity in the South-East and counteract historical underinvestment in the region. Today’s Government approval of Waterford City and County Council’s final business case enables the council to appoint a contractor. The contract for the Waterford North Quays Infrastructure Project is expected to be signed by the end of November. Works are due to commence on the site in March 2023 and be completed in 2025.

This Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) project’s main contract consists of three transport-focused infrastructure sub-projects:

1. An integrated transport hub through relocation of the existing train station and the formation of a new integrated, more central public transport interchange on brownfield sites to the north of the river Suir

2. A sustainable transport corridor through the construction of a new sustainable transport bridge (facilitating pedestrian/cyclist/public transport). The bridge will link the North and South Quays. It will also create an urban greenway facilitating a connection between the existing Waterford to Dungarvan Greenway and the proposed Waterford to New Ross Greenway.

3. City Centre Access – this project will result in improved site-access roads and bridge structures at North Quays

Welcoming today’s decision, which will involve €100.6m of URDF funding, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said:

“Today’s Government decision is good news for Waterford. It enables the largest urban regeneration project in the country to begin, paving the way for Waterford to enhance its offering as an attractive place in which to live, work, visit and invest.

“This investment will create jobs and facilitate a new city quarter with a mix of commercial, retail and tourist offerings and an estimated three hundred new homes. The Government’s National Planning Framework aims to make Waterford a ‘Regional City of Scale’, driving regional growth. This investment will help achieve that objective. I look forward to working with Waterford City and County Council, the National Transport Authority and others to help transform the North Quays.”

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, welcomed the decision, saying:

“This significant Government investment in infrastructure will drive economic development in Waterford and the South-East more widely. The infrastructural project will create jobs and the development of the Strategic Development Zone will enhance the city’s economic, commercial and tourist offering and improve the quality of life for people living in the city.

“The Government’s National Planning Framework is clear in relation to Waterford being a city of regional development, and the growth of the wider region. Today’s funding announcement shows we are matching that aim with Government investment.”

The Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said:

“I am delighted to support the Waterford North Quays Infrastructure Project which will provide for sustainable transport-orientated development in Waterford city. I welcome the new homes, urban regeneration and sustainable transport infrastructure that will be delivered by the project over the next few years. This includes a new bridge for easier walking and cycling over the River Suir and the movement of the existing train station to a better, more suitable, location. This new hub was identified as a Pathfinder Project by the Department of Transport a few weeks ago, as a shining example of how we need to integrate transport and community. I am pleased to announce that my Department is contributing €70 million towards this project, which will be of such benefit to Waterford city and its people.”

Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority said:

“The NTA welcomes the Government approval to invest in the delivery of the Waterford North Quays Infrastructure Project which is a key delivery in the Waterford Transport Strategy. Combined with the delivery of BusConnects and CycleConnects, this project will provide more opportunities for the people of Waterford to make more sustainable choices for their travel.”

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary said:

“This investment represents another significant step in bringing the development of the North Quays to reality and delivering a strategic economic and social catalyst for Waterford and the region. The North Quays will not only be a game changer for Waterford’s future economic development, but the benefits will also permeate the region’s environmental, tourism and cultural sectors.”

The new public infrastructure being provided will act as leverage for private sector development of the SDZ site. This will lead to the creation of a new city quarter and extension to the existing city centre. It will comprise offices, retail, residential (c. 300), tourism, investment in conference/exhibition facilities, a hotel and visitors centre. This plan-led, holistic and sustainable approach to development supports the Government’s National Planning Framework National Strategic Outcomes, including compact growth, enhanced regional accessibility, sustainable mobility and transition to a Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Society.