Bridge over troubled water swept aside

July 19, 2011

By Paul Malone

Plans for a cross-border bridge between Down and Louth have been swept aside due to lack of finance. Plans had been drawn up for a Narrow Water Bridge which would link the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint Road with the R173 Omeath to Newry Road in Co Louth, improving access to the scenic Carlingford Lough. However, the ambitious plans now seem to be increasingly unlikely to be implemented in the near future after the Republic’s transport department said there was no funding available to progress the mutli-million pound scheme. The Republic’s government had initially planned to contribute more than £11 million towards the scheme, but no figures on the proposed contribution from Northern Ireland had been put forward.

Leo Varadkar, the deputy transport minister, said an economic appraisal for the bridge from Louth County Council had been sent to the National Roads Authority. He said, “These reports were reviewed by NRA on behalf of my department and the NRA recently submitted their report with recommendations in relation to this project. I have examined this report and recommendations and based on the economic appraisal, the current financial circumstances, competing demands from other local authorities for strategic schemes which have a better benefit to cost ratio, this department is not in a position to proceed any further with the Narrow Water Bridge project, and beyond 2011 no further funding will be made available for it.”