After years of campaigning by local councillors past and present, work has finally begun on Tyrconnell Bridge in Donegal Town.
The bridge has been closed and diversions put in place. But every effort is being made to keep traffic flowing and to allow access to businesses, services and homes.
The Church of Ireland and Donegal Castle are accessible on foot from the Diamond/Bridge Street junction. Businesses and homes on the other side of the bridge including the Post Office are accessible from the crossroads beside the Railway Museum.
Pedestrian access via steps from Waterloo Place / New Row has been closed off. The road under the bridge at New Row /Waterloo Place is also closed, with access open to businesses and homes.
A one-way traffic system is in place at Water Street, Castle Street and the town side of Tyrconnell Street. Traffic can only come down Water Street from Main Street, and can only go up Castle Street, exiting at the Donegal Castle side of Tyrconnell Bridge and going towards the Diamond.
Cllr Tom Conaghan (Ind) said: “I know this is an inconvenience for some people, but this work needs to be done. On the whole it will be good for the town. I am delighted that work is starting on the bridge.”
Tyrconnell Bridge also known locally as the Iron Bridge was first opened in 1895. The present structure was put in place in 1920 and the character will be preserved in the work which is now being carried out.
Cllr Conaghan said: “A lot of people have been asking what the bridge will look like. From what I can see from the plans, it won’t be much different.”
The upper section of the bridge will be demolished. Then the natural stone supports will be repaired where necessary and will be cleaned and repointed. Some work will also need to be done to the stonework to allow the construction of the top section of the bridge.
Replica bridge parapets have been designed to match the existing steel riveted panels.
Work will also include bridge deck waterproofing as well as construction of the road, footpath, drainage and ducting chambers.
The contractor appointed by Donegal County Council is L & M Keating. The work will cost in the region of €925,000.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said every effort will be made to minimise disruption and to re-open roads as soon as possible.
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