The Irish Government has announced €3m in funding to progress work on the cross-border Narrow Water Bridge, which will link the Mourne mountains area with the Cooley peninsula.
The money from the Shared Island Fund will see the project brought to tender stage, based on the current design of the bridge and existing planning permission.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said further funding will be allocated from the Shared Island Fund once the due diligence process has been completed and the final costs of the project are determined.
Planning permission is in place for a 280-metre cable-stayed bridge, anchored by two towers at either end, for car and cycle traffic.
The proposed bridge would connect the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint dual carriageway in Co Down with the R173 at Omeath in Co Louth and would have the ability to allow for passage of vessels through and on to the Newry Canal.