Ministers visit Narrow Water to provide update on iconic Narrow Water Bridge
Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon MLA and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD today visited Narrow Water and met with local stakeholders to provide an update on their shared vision and determination to deliver the iconic Narrow Water Bridge on the outskirts of Newry.
Following the investment from the Taoiseach’s Shared Island Unit, a working group has been set up tasked with driving forward delivery of the project.
Minister Mallon has confirmed that her Department is working with partners on further proposals for complementary walking and cycling infrastructure to enhance connectivity to the new bridge and maximise the tourism potential in this area of outstanding beauty.
The Narrow Water Bridge is a key component in the New Decade New Approach agreement. The bridge will provide access to a range of cross border active travel and recreational activities including greenways, mountain bike trails, walking routes and beaches.
Planning permission is in place for a distinctive 280m cable stayed bridge, anchored by two towers at either end, for car and cycle traffic. It will connect the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint dual carriageway with the R173 Omeath and will have the ability to open to allow for passage of ships through and on to the Newry Canal.
Subject to the completion of all the required statutory processes, construction of the project could begin in 2023.
Minister Nichola Mallon said: “Minister O’Brien and I are committed to partnership working North and South and to the delivery of the iconic Narrow Water Bridge. Today we met with local partners and stakeholders in the area who have faithfully campaigned for this Bridge, to provide an update on the work now started by the taskforce set up to drive this forward.
“This is positive progress and my officials will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that all the steps necessary to turn this project from concept to reality are quickly put in place.
“I have also made it clear that my vision for this area of outstanding natural beauty includes the provision of new and enhanced walking and cycling infrastructure to complement the Narrow Water Bridge. I am delighted that my Department is now working with partners on plans to transform active travel in the area.
“This transformative project will not only open up connectivity in the area but it will benefit our island economy and tourism offering.”
Irish Minister O’Brien said: “The Narrow Water Bridge has been a Government priority for many years and I am very pleased that through the Shared Island Fund, this project is progressing in earnest.
“Local authorities in the east border region have played a key role in advocating for the Narrow Water Bridge over the past five decades, recognising the huge symbolic, economic and social importance of the project to the people living there.
“We all appreciate the significance of this project and eagerly await construction beginning in 2023.”
Bradley welcomes progress on Narrow Water Bridge.
SDLP South Down MLA Sinead Bradley has welcomed an update from SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon on the Narrow Water Bridge project.
Minister Mallon and Minister Darragh O’Brien TD met with the working group set up tasked with driving forward delivery of the project. Minister Mallon has confirmed that her department is working with partners on further proposals for complementary walking and cycling infrastructure to enhance connectivity to the new bridge and maximise the tourism potential in the area.
Sinead Bradley said: “Progressing this iconic project has been a long-term aim for everyone in this area. We were delighted that SDLP Minister Mallon visited this area on Friday to engage with the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network and tell them in-person her exciting plans for the development of the Narrow Water bridge. I know they appreciated the meeting and she received a very warm welcome.
“This bridge will be transformative to this area opening up greater cross-border co-operation on a number of key issues, allowing people to travel seamlessly to work and socialise and provide a much-needed boost to businesses in both communities. It will also draw in more tourists who can visit both locations easily on their journey.
“SDLP Minister Mallon’s proposals for further walking and cycling infrastructure will also be warmly welcomed. In the face of the climate crisis we need to do everything we can to encourage people to move to more sustainable forms of travel and Minister Mallon has put dealing with this issue at the top of her agenda. I look forward to work beginning on this significant project in 2023 and its eventual completion which will be a huge boost to this area.”