Louth County Council Suspend Narrow Water Bridge Project

Looks like the Northern Ireland Finance Minister’s caution was justified.  As the BBC report

Plans to build a cross-border-bridge between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have been put on hold.

Louth County Council said tenders had been significantly above the figure expected for the Narrow Water bridge project, leading it to halt it.

RTÉ has the figures involved.

The council today said the tenders for the 195m cable-stay bridge across the river Newry at Narrow Water ranged from €26m to €40m, with VAT then to be added on top of that.

A spokesperson for Louth Co Council said having examined the tenders they were clearly well above the budget estimate.

It had been planned the bridge would be built with support from the Government, the Northern Executive and the EU.

However, because of the higher-than-expected tenders, the spokesperson said the project has been put on hold while other possible ways of funding the bridge are examined.

However, given that there is a time limit for use of the EU money, which had been the bulk of the €17.4m, it now appears unlikely the bridge will go ahead.

€17.4million being the original estimate of the cost.  All of which makes some recent party political statements redundant.

Ms. Ruane said [8 July],

 “The Narrow Water Bridge is good to proceed as soon as DRD Minister Danny Kennedy grants a Bridge Order, as every other issue including the funding has been addressed.”

 “It has also been confirmed that Louth County Council has granted their Bridge Order so there is no reason whatsoever for the delay from the North.

Hmm…

Adds  From the Louth County Council press release

A spokesperson for Louth County Council said today: “Having examined all of the tenders received from contractors competing to build the bridge, it is clear that their estimates of the cost of construction are considerably higher than the figures we have been working with to date. This leaves us with a substantial funding shortfall. Our focus now is on seeing if this can be filled through any combination of additional funding and cost reductions.

“While our ambition remains to see this socially and economically desirable project through to completion, the reality is that it is now effectively on hold. At this time, we want to record our appreciation for the support that we have received to date from all of the various stakeholders in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.”