WORK will begin next month on a new €6m bridge crossing the River Liffey.
It will link Marlborough Street and Hawkins Street and should be open to traffic in early 2013, Dublin City Council said last night.
But it will be closed to private cars, with only buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians allowed to use it.
It can also be used by the Luas if the Government goes ahead with plans to link both lines.
The public transport bridge is needed to ease pressure on O'Connell Bridge, which is crossed by 6,000 pedestrians an hour.
It will be funded by the National Transport Authority, and will allow Dublin Bus to revise its network in the city centre and speed up journey times while providing additional capacity.
The bridge will carry two southbound bus lanes, with one heading down Hawkins Street and the other turning right onto Burgh Quay.
South and northbound cycle lanes and foot paths will be provided, along with space for the southbound track for the Luas which is designed to run along Hawkins Street towards Trinity College, then Dawson Street and onto St Stephen's Green.
Northern Irish company Graham Projects Limited, from Hillsborough in Co Down, was yesterday awarded the contract, which is worth just more than €5.9m. The bridge is a slender, single-span, smooth-concrete structure, which is high enough to allow boats pass underneath it.
Planning permission was granted in 2009, and the project will take 18 months to complete.