Narrow Water Bridge Approval - Forty years in the making

24 October 2012

The Chairman of East Border Region, Cllr Jackie Crowe, has announced his delight that the Narrow Water Bridge project has been approved by the INTERREG IVA Steering Committee today. (Wednesday 24th October). The Bridge which will be the first major infrastructure link between Ireland North and South has been awarded €17.4 million of European funding from the Cross Border INTERREG IVA Programme.


This major capital investment will see the development of a 195 metre single carriageway cable-stayed bridge across Carlingford Lough linking Counties Down and Louth and will be an opening bridge to enable tall ships, leisure craft and other marine vessels access to Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry. The total length of the scheme is 620m while the towers have a height of 90m and 37m respectively. In 2008 Louth County Council engaged Roughan O'Donovan Consulting Engineers to design a bridge in keeping with the outstanding natural beauty in the area. The same company designed the Boyne Bridge on the M1 near Drogheda.


Now that funding has been secured work on the development of the Bridge will begin immediately and will be completed by June 2015. East Border Region Ltd is lead partner in the project and will be responsible for financial management and adherence to INTERREG regulations whilst Louth County Council as Lead Council will be responsible for building the Bridge and Newry and Mourne District Council as project partner will be integral in the delivery of the overall project. 


East Border Region is a local authority led grouping comprising ten councils, 7 in N Ireland and 3 in the Republic of Ireland.  The organisation was formed in 1976 by Newry and Mourne District Council, Louth County Council and Monaghan County Council with the aim of promoting cross border economic development which has mutual benefit for the people of the region.  The Narrow Water Bridge project was first mooted at a meeting of East Border Region in 1976 and has been promoted by the organisation since that time (see attached Press Article Newry Reporter 1976). Mr A Lockhart Chairman of Newry and Mourne District Council in 1976 stated the following at a meeting of EBR "Although it might not be an opportune time to talk about building the bridge I feel that when the troubles die down it would provide great opportunities for industry and tourism".


Cllr Jackie Crowe Chairman of EBR welcomed today's funding announcement "The Narrow Water Bridge is a genuinely symbolic cross border project providing the first bridge linking Ireland and Northern Ireland and will provide a momentous tourism and economic catalyst for the whole of the region. The Bridge development will provide much needed jobs in the construction sector in the short term and will undoubtedly enhance the tourism potential of the region as it acts as a gateway to the Mournes and Cooley Mountains".


Cllr Crowe ended by paying tribute to all those past and present elected members of East Border Region who have worked tirelessly to promote the Narrow Water Bridge project. Today's funding announcement is testament to their hard work, dedication and resilience.


"The Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) can confirm that approximately €17.4 worth of funding, from the European Union's INTERREG IVA Programme, has been approved by its Independent Steering Committee for the Narrow Water Bridge project. However, given the high value of funding sought, project approval is also dependent upon the financial support provided by the relevant accountable departments, which include the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland".

  • Monaghan
  • LCC
  • MCC
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council