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October 23, 2008

New cross-border bridge at Narrow Water

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The design of a new bridge across the border between the Republic and the North has been unveiled. The 280-metre-long cable-stayed bridge will link Narrow Water near Warrenpoint in Co Down with Cornamucklagh in Omeath, Co Louth, and has been designed so it is safe for cyclists and pedestrians. It is nearly 29 years since Narrow Water became synonymous with the single worst loss of life of British soldiers in the Troubles when two IRA bombs killed 18 soldiers. One civilian was also killed. The bridge has a tower at each end. The higher 100-metre-tall one is on the southern side, which will have the Cooley and Mourne mountains as a backdrop; while the lower tower at 30 metres will be on the northern end and will compliment the Drumlin topography there.

Tony Dempsey, from consultant engineers Roughan O’Donovan, told councillors at meetings in Dundalk and Newry the criteria for selecting the bridge design included the impact on the environment and ecology as well as on the landscape and heritage. He said it was designed as a ‘tourist bridge’ and cyclists, pedestrians, cars and coaches can use it, but heavy-goods vehicles will be discouraged.

A section of the bridge closest to Narrow Water will lift to let boats, including tall ships and other water traffic, pass by. It will span the Clanrye river as it prepares to flow into Carlingford Lough. Images of the bridge and full details of what is proposed will be on display in Warrenpoint and Omeath this week for feedback from the public.

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