East Border Region are delighted that a longstanding priority for EBR is now coming to fruition! The Republic of Ireland 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. Narrow Water Bridge is an iconic project which will act as a catalyst for economic development in our region.
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.
Mr Martin said: “I am delighted that work on the Narrow Water Bridge is now progressing, supported by funding from the Shared Island Fund.
“This project was first proposed decades ago, and has been a long-standing and highly symbolic Government commitment, as reflected in the Stormont House-Fresh Start and New Decade New Approach agreements.
“I am determined that the repeated commitment to build the Narrow Water Bridge will now be delivered upon.”
Mr Martin continued: “The bridge will link the Mourne Mountains and Cooley peninsula, providing huge tourism and connectivity boosts in the east border region, and will act as a key enabler for improved cross-border active travel and recreation activities including the development of greenways, walking trails and park amenities.
“The Narrow Water Bridge is a true all-island project, with strong cross-party political support north and south. It will open up new and exciting opportunities, with huge potential for the local and wider economy.”
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien added: “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 can now begin 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.”
Northern Ireland Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon said: “I am delighted to welcome this long-awaited progress on the iconic Narrow Water Bridge. The Narrow Water Bridge brings with it the potential for huge opportunities for tourism and connectivity to the local area of Carlingford Lough and right across our island.
“Today’s announcement of funding will be crucial in moving the project forward and getting delivery on the ground.”
Subject to all the required processes, construction of the project is expected to begin in 2023.