Hands across the water

Another bit of northsouthery seems to be crumbling around its proponents’ ears, according to a report in today’s Irish Times [which will disappear behind a paywall at some stage]. It seems that, in July, TPTB approved the spending of €18.3 million on a bridge at Narrowwater [or Narrow Water], upstream of Warrenpoint and downstream of Newry (and of Victoria Lock). However,

The leading bid has costed the bridge at over €30 million […].

I presume that inflation does not account for the 66% increase but I am surprised that the proponents’ estimate was so far off. Perhaps omitting the opening span (intended to cater for the small number of tall vessels that use the Ship Canal to visit Newry) would save a few quid.

There is a discussion of the bridge project here and some useful information here; there isn’t here, although you might expect it.

It is certainly true that anyone wanting to drive from, say, Greenore or Carlingford to, say, Kilkeel or even Warrenpoint faces a long drive around Carlingford Lough. What is not clear to me is whether very many people want to do that: I haven’t investigated the matter, so I don’t know, but the main north/south traffic passes to the west and there are crossings at Newry.

A ferry service might be cheaper; it might also allow the real strength of demand to be gauged. Ferry terminals might be constructed by the local authorities and leased to an operating company.

And the service would probably be more useful than the Clones Sheugh: I see that yet another member of Sinn Féin got to ask about that in the Dáil recently, as did a Fianna Fáil chap from the area; they elicited the standard answer. The minister may be hoping that the cost estimates for the sheugh are more robust than those for the Narrowwater bridge.

3 responses to “Hands across the water

  1. I too fail to see the reason for this bridge. I was horrified when I first heard of it as I feared it would despoil a famous beauty spot.

    Years ago, when I was a lad, many years ago, a small open ferry boat plied between Omeath and Warrenpoint and was very popular with day trippers. I could imagine your idea of a car ferry at Narrowpoint being equally as successful. The ferry at Strangford does a roaring trade during the summer.

    Still enjoying your blog. Many thanks for sometimes lightening a dull day.

  2. Thank you. I can’t claim credit for the ferry idea, though. The Irish Times had a piece last December saying that the Killimer–Tarbert people were interested in serving Carlingford Lough. I provided a link to the story at the time but the piece has now disappeared behind the paper’s paywall. bjg

  3. Pingback: Newry and Narrow Water | Irish waterways history

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