Sammy Wilson, the Northern Ireland Minister for Finance, has approved the construction of a $4 million new cross-border bridge at Narrow Water which will stretch across Carlingford Lough, linking County Down with County Louth in the Republic.
According to South Down MP, Margaret Ritchie, plans for the 660-meter bridge have been considered since 1976 and these recent developments have been called a “victory for the people”.
The only thing that may now stands in the way of the project is approval from the Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy, who will attend a public consultation process into the bridge and then consider any objections to it. He will then initiate a public inquiry or sign the Bridge Order.
Margaret Ritchie has urged Kennedy not to delay in giving his approval, saying:
“Getting funding for the bridge is a victory for the people and I urge Mr Kennedy to give the project his approval.
“This is a cross-border venture for the betterment of the people in the North and South of Ireland.
“It will bring a massive boost to the local tourism, construction and engineering industries,” she said.
“I would like to thank everyone on the cross-border Narrow Water Bridge committee for all of their hard work over the years. It is finally paying off,” reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Sinn Fein president and Louth TD Gerry Adams also approved of the bridge, calling it “a crucial investment project that can significantly enhance the local economies of communities on both sides of the border.”
The plan is supported by EU grant aid with contributions from the Irish Government and will take two years to build. It is thought that the bridge could cut 45 minutes off the journey to and from Warren Port from the Republic while also providing an increase in tourism and a boost to jobs on both sides of the border.