Funding Approved for First Cross-Border Bridge
By Adam Farley, Editorial Assistant
August / September 2013
The newest bridge in Ireland is as important for its symbolism as for its ability to carry cars, and both have Irish on each side of the border excited. When completed, the Narrow Water Bridge will be the first ever cross-border bridge connecting the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Funding for the bridge was officially granted by the UK’s Finance Minister in May.
The Narrow Water Bridge, which will span 2,165 feet across Carlingford Lough and link Counties Down and Louth, has been in various stages of development since 1976. But barring any unforeseen roadblocks, the handsomely designed bridge will be completed in 2015 at an estimated cost of £14 million, mostly financed by the E.U., with just under £3.5 million coming directly from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. When completed, the bridge will evoke two harps laid end-to-end with its dual cable-stayed towers.
While a public inquiry is still possible if local resistance is voiced or there are significant objections, the bridge project appears to have only supporters, with everyone from local councillors to Gerry Adams lauding the plan.
Councillor Gerald Mallon, chairman of East Border Region, told the BBC that “The Narrow Water bridge is a genuinely symbolic cross border project providing the first bridge linking Ireland and Northern Ireland and will provide a catalyst for both economic development and tourism within the region.”
Gerry Adams, TD, called it a “crucial investment project that can significantly enhance the local economies of communities on both sides of the border,” reported the Belfast Telegraph.
The two most popular areas for tourism in the region are the Mourne and Cooley Mountains in Down and Louth respectively. The Narrow Water Bridge is expected to significantly alleviate traffic congestion around Newry and cut about 45 minutes off the journey between the two counties.