SEUPB, the Special European Union Programmes Body, has withdrawn its offer of funding for the Narrowwater bridge about which I wrote here and here.
Perhaps the scheme’s proponents might now consider a Newry Southern Relief Road instead. It might not be iconic, but it would be considerably more useful.
And I really don’t think it needs an opening span to cater for a couple of yachts going up the Newry Ship Canal.
It seems that the SEUPB wants to reallocate the money to a project that could be completed by December 2015. A cross-border sheugh, maybe?
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, People, Politics, Scenery, Sea, Tourism, Ulster Canal, waterways
Tagged barge, boats, bridge, canal, Carlingford, Clones, Erne, Ireland, Narrow Water, Narrowwater, Newry, northsouthery, SEUPB, ship canal, southern relief road, Ulster Canal, waterways
In October I wrote about a Northern Ireland Assembly debate on a proposed Newry Southern Relief Road. I said:
… the debate was remarkable for its demonstration of cross-party agreement: not so much on the desirability of public works (a desideratum of Irish politicians since the eighteenth century) as on the irrelevance of the Narrowwater bridge.
It must surely be unlikely that there will be two crossings of Carlingford or the Newry River [and canal] within a few miles of each other. But if one option, the Newry Southern Relief Road, helps to relieve Newry and Warrenpoint traffic and the other, the Narrowwater bridge, doesn’t do so, then the first option would seem to be the rational choice.
Yesterday, 12 November 2013, Martin McGuinness [SF, Mid Ulster] reported to the Northern Ireland Assembly on the recent plenary meeting of the North/South Ministerial Council. He and others expressed support for the Narrowwater project. This question is revealing:
Caitriona Ruane [SF, South Down]: Go raibh maith agat agus go raibh maith agat don LeasChéad-Aire as an ráiteas sin. I welcome the statement from the deputy First Minister. Does he agree that the Narrow Water bridge project is a very good project for everyone in the Louth/Down area, that the chambers of commerce are representing every single community — Kilkeel, Warrenpoint and Rostrevor — and that the project went through a very rigorous process in relation to the SEUPB and came out at the top of the competitive process?
She made no mention of Newry; nor did any other contributor to the debate.
Posted in Ashore, Built heritage, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Industrial heritage, Ireland, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Sea, Sources, Tourism, waterways, Waterways management
Tagged boats, bridge, Carlingford, Ireland, Martin McGuinness, Narrow Water, Narrowwater, Newry, North/South Ministerial Council, Northern Ireland Assembly, waterways
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.
Posted in Ashore, Economic activities, Engineering and construction, Extant waterways, Foreign parts, Ireland, Natural heritage, Non-waterway, Operations, People, Politics, Scenery, Sea, Tourism, waterways
Tagged bridge, canal, Carlingford, Clones, department of arts heritage and the gaeltacht, ferry, Greenore, Ireland, Kilkeel, Louth, Narrow Water, Narrowwater, Newry, Northern Ireland, northsouthery, Omeath, Ulster Canal, Warrenpoint