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Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon has made a visit to the site of the proposed Narrow Water Bridge in Warrenpoint today where she once again gave her commitment to progressing the bridge when meeting with members of the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network and local representatives.

The Minister spoke of taking advantage of the tourism potential of the region and said that her officials are working on an updated economic appraisal of options for the project.

The proposed Narrow Water bridge is one of two bridge projects being taken forward at present by the Department for Infrastructure. Planning Permission was granted in October 2012 for the 'Single Carriageway cable stayed opening bridge across the Newry River" but the scheme was stopped a few years later due to lack of complete funding.

Although Planning Permission should have lapsed in 2017 a report on the bridge on NI Roads Site suggests that earth-moving work carried out on site just prior to the expiration should mean that permission still applies.

Minister Mallon met with the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network and local representatives
DFI Minister Mallon pictured during her visit with the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network and local representatives

Interestingly while this scheme caters for an opening bridge, the other current proposed bridge over Newry Canal, the Southern Relief Road Bridge is presently moving forward with plans to incorporate a fixed bridge structure, something which would spell the end of tall ships being able to visit Newry City, and the end of a fantastic tourism asset.

The Minister who met to discuss the benefits of the Narrow Water Bridge scheme for the local area reiterated her commitment to advancing the Project during her visit.

Minister Mallon said “I am committed to progressing the Narrow Water Bridge project. I recognise the strong local support for a bridge to link the communities on both sides of Carlingford Lough and to take full advantage of the tourism potential of this cross-border region,  whilst protecting the natural environment in this area of historic and ecological significance.

“My officials have been working to update an economic appraisal of options considered in respect of future development of Narrow Water in collaboration with the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport. 

“Recognising the importance of all island working to deliver this much needed strategic project, I have written to Minister Ryan following my site visit today, as collaboration is key to its delivery for our people north and south.

“From tourism to connectivity to growing our economy, the benefits from building the Narrow Water Bridge are wide ranging. The local community recognised this many years ago and have been tirelessly campaigning. As we adapt and change in the face of Covid and Brexit, the case has been strengthened and we have a real opportunity to work in partnership across this island and seize that chance for change.”

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