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HSE warns ‘significant risk’ of power failure at UHG's Emergency Department


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

HSE warns ‘significant risk’ of power failure at UHG's Emergency Department HSE warns ‘significant risk’ of power failure at UHG's Emergency Department

From the Galway City Tribune – There are “significant” risks to the supply of electricity to the Emergency Department at University Hospital Galway – which could cause “complete power disruption”, the HSE has said.

In documentation submitted to Galway City Council, the health authority said it needs to build a new electrical substation on the site of the ‘Mass Path’ carpark at Newcastle Avenue.

The HSE is seeking planning permission to build an ‘Electrical Energy Centre’ to power the existing Temporary Emergency Department (TED), as well as future-proof for the proposed €450m Women and Children’s Block and upgrade work to the Nurses’ Home building.

The plan would also see the removal of some underground services which need to be removed if a proposed bus corridor through the hospital campus is given the green light.

At the moment, the TED is powered by a cable which runs from the boiler house – much of which is over ground.

“The cable runs over ground in parts (more than 50% of the route), there are risks that it could be purposely interfered with or accidentally damaged by a vehicle, particularly where it is installed along the perimeter of the existing carpark for which no other option exists at present.

“These risks are significant and the consequences of such damage resulting in complete power disruption to the ED cannot be overstated,” the planning application reads.

According to the documentation, the entire Mass Path car park (almost 70 spaces) will be taken up during the development. When completed, 31 spaces will be lost, leaving just 38.

A Noise Impact Assessment included as part of the application concluded:” There will be no residual effects from the construction phase of the project. The noise impact of the proposed Electrical Energy Centre development will not be significant in relation to the existing background noise level in the area. There will be no significant residual impact from the operation of the proposed development.”

However, it did say: “There is likely to be temporary and intermittent increases in noise levels during the construction phase at the nearest residential properties. The main sources of noise due to construction will be from activities such as truck movements of excavated and construction materials, as well as crane and excavator/loader noise sources.”

The report went on to say: “The predicted worst-case noise levels from the Electrical Energy Centre [when operational] indicated that the future noise levels will not exceed the daytime and night-time background noise levels recorded in the area.”

Under a Construction Traffic Management Plan, deliveries and HGVs will have to use the Browne Roundabout access.

“UHG’s ongoing carparking management will address informal parking that occurs along this route to ensure that no blockages occur,” the plan reads, adding that contractors will be required to park off site during construction.

Under the same planning application, permission has also been sought to retain the TED – originally designed as a ‘decant building’ to facilitate the provision of the new ED and Women and Children’s Block.

However, the Covid pandemic necessitated the ED element being expedited – that became the existing so-called ‘TED’.

The application also seeks the retention of a carpark with 24 spaces adjacent to the Public Analysts’ Laboratory – to off-set some of the spaces which were lost at the front of the hospital when the taxi rank and bus stop were relocated.

Members of the public can make submissions to the City Council on the plans until May 9 and a decision is due on May 30.

However, it is expected that the local authority will seek further information from the HSE at the point.

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