Now it is likely to be remembered in history as the first cross-sea link between the Republic and Northern Ireland when building starts on a new 280-meter bridge after the Irish government on Tuesday committed €3 million to progress work on the cross-border Narrow Water Bridge project.
Following delays during 50 years when the project was first mooted, construction is now expected to start in 2023.
The cable-stayed bridge, anchored by two towers at either end, will be a huge boost to cross-border tourism and will link Co. Down in the North to Co. Louth in the Republic.
It will connect the A2 Newry/Warrenpoint dual carriageway with the R173 at Omeath and would have the ability to allow for the passage of vessels through and on to the Newry Canal.
Previous plans to build the bridge were scrapped in 2013. At the time, Louth County Council said tenders had been significantly above the figures expected to complete the project, ranging from €26 million to €40 million.
Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon told the BBC that the Taoiseach’s announcement was “fantastic news” after people in the area had been “let down for far too long.”
Martin said, “The Narrow Water Bridge is a true all-island project, with strong cross-party political support north and south. I welcome the renewed momentum and energy which has been breathed back into this project.”
He added, “The bridge will link the Mourne Mountains and Cooley Peninsula, providing huge tourism and connectivity boosts in the east border region, and will act as a key enabler for improved cross-border active travel and recreation activities including the development of greenways, walking trails and park amenities.”
Mallon said she would work closely with the Irish government and councils in the region “to ensure my department plays its part in delivering this key commitment for communities north and south, enhancing connectivity, encouraging active travel, and opening up opportunities for our island economy.”
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