The Narrow Water Bridge Community Network very much welcome the announcement by the Taoiseach to commit €3 million to bring the project to the tender stage.
We at the Network would like to make it clear that the Narrow Water Bridge has been many years in the making and we are not there yet. The painful memories of the catastrophic 11th-hour collapse of the project in 2013 are still fresh in the South Down area. The NWBCN remains committed to the design that was approved in 2012.
This is the only design that will achieve the following critical objectives:
1. Uniting communities around the lough by making provision for vehicular traffic.
2. Capitalising not only on the continued growth in active tourism but to enhance the rapid development of commuter cycling which is central to any meaningful Green Recovery strategy i.e. appropriate cycle and walking lanes on the bridge.
We also believe that the project must, in this year of COP 26 in Glasgow be fully integrated into the current Active Travel Strategy currently being devised by the Department of Infrastructure NI and Newry, Mourne & Down District Council.
4. And finally preserving the navigability of the Newry Canal – failure to do so will deny future generations the right to enjoy the ancient and protected “Blue Way” to the Albert Basin in Newry. The bridge must be able to be raised to allow canal traffic through.
The NWBCN looks forward to engaging with Infrastructure Departments, Louth County Council and Newry Mourne & Down District County Council to bring this long overdue project, in Taoiseach Martin’s words in October 2020, “to full delivery without undue delay.”