A knowledgeable written question [h/t KildareStreet.com] from Maureen O’Sullivan [Ind, Dublin Central] about the Effin Bridge over the Royal Canal at Newcomen Bridge:
To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will identify the parties concerned with the operation of the lifting bridge which occupies the site of the original first lock on the Royal Canal Newcomen Bridge, Dublin 1; the factors that contribute to the status of the lifting bridge; if he will convene a meeting of interests concerned with the operation of the lifting bridge with a view to devising a management and operational system that is less hostile to the use of the waterway as currently it is an impediment and discouragement to navigation on the Royal Canal and an obstacle to navigation-communication between the Royal Canal and River Liffey and between Royal Canal and Grand Canal at their eastern reaches; and if he considers the lifting bridge could be re-engineered as a dropping bridge.
The minister, Jimmy Deenihan [FG, Kerry North/West Limerick], responded:
I can advise the Deputy that the parties concerned with the operation of the lifting bridge over the railway line close to Newcomen Bridge are Irish Rail and Waterways Ireland. The bridge carries the rail line from Connolly Station to the lower line link to the docks area. The bridge was procured and installed by Waterways Ireland’s predecessors. The bridge is operated by Irish Rail staff on a request basis at Waterways Ireland’s expense. The option of introducing a drop lock to replace the need of the lifting bridge has been considered but not deemed viable due to the cost estimate involved.
Note that the question was about a “dropping bridge” but the answer was about a “drop lock”.
The answer suggests that the number of lifts each year is a function of the number of requests made by Waterways Ireland; it would be interesting to know whether that it actually so. If it is, then WI’s budget [cut again] is probably the ultimate determinant; if Irish Rail has a say in the matter, its operational needs may influence the decisions.
I cannot think of any cost-effective solution. I am not convinced that the bridge in itself discourages navigation.