independent

Friday 25 May 2018

Public to have a say on name of new bridge

Submission date beckons for name for new Barrow bridge, with councillors to decide

Work continues on the bridge over the River Barrow, which is expected to be completed early next year
Work continues on the bridge over the River Barrow, which is expected to be completed early next year

David Looby

People in the New Ross and south Kilkenny areas will finally be able to have their say on what the name of the longest bridge in Ireland - the New Ross Bypass bridge - should be.

Public submissions will be sought in the coming weeks by both Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils for Ireland's longest bridge (and what will be the longest bridge of its type in the world), which links both counties over the River Barrow, the second longest river in Ireland, from Dunganstown and Stokestown in County Wexford to the Pink Rock, Ballyverneen area in County Kilkenny.

The original name proposed by Wexford - the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge - caused controversy online with some commentators complaining that there are too many Kennedy family related names in the New Ross town area, leading to the whole naming process being delayed.

New Ross District Director Eamonn Hore said the bridge is costing around €90m to build and will be the longest in the country at 887m once it is completed early next year. The structure is a three-tower extradose bridge, which, at its height, is 36 metres above the Barrow, the highest in the country. It will be 26 metres longer than the Foyle Bridge in Derry and will feature nine spans, including two central spans of 230m.

Mr Hore said: 'Given the scale and importance of the bridge, both from a major infrastructural development point of view, and its socio-economic potential for New Ross and the entire south east region, a relevant and fitting name should be conferred on the bridge. It will be the longest bridge of its kind in the world. It's a significant engineering achievement.'

It was unanimously agreed at the joint meeting of Piltown Municipal District and New Ross Municipal District last May was that a steering group of six council officials be set. It was agreed that this steering group would adjudicate on the merits of the submitted names from the public and then recommend the most appropriate or worthiest names to both Municipal District Committees to make their final reserved function decision.

Submission forms are due to be available from May 28 with a six week window to the closing date of 5 p.m. on Friday, July 6.

Mr Hore said: 'The Steering Group should meet within two to four weeks thereafter to adjudicate on the submissions and agree on the names to be forwarded to the Municipal District Committees.'

Within a month the steering group will meet to consider submissions and recommend list of up to six names for consideration.

The steering group will then recommends names and submits a report to Municipal District Committees as part of their agendas for September's meeting, followed by a joint meeting before the end of September for councillors to formally ratify a name.

Councillor Fidelis Doherty said councillors want the public to have their say from later this month.

She explains what you will be asked for: 'There will be some questions asked where you suggest your proposed name, explain why you think it's a fitting name for the bridge. What relevance or connection this has to the area? What's the benefit to the area of this name? And finally, what effect, if any, will this name have on tourism, employment or the socio-economic development of the area.'

The public consultation phase will comprise part of the naming process for the bridge. 'You are invited to make a written submission, providing your preferred name for the bridge. A response to each of the questions is requested in order to make a valid submission.'

The Barrow Bridge - which lies 6km south of O'Hanrahan Bridge - will be the eight bridge built in the vicinity of New Ross town. The first was built by William Marshal, 'The Greatest Knight', and opened in 1207, followed by bridges built under orders from the English in 1313, 1450, 1649, 1796, 1869 and O'Hanrahan Bridge in 1967. New Ross was without a bridge for 150 years with a ferry bringing people between New Ross and Rosbercon.

Completed submission forms should be addressed N25 New Ross Bypass Bridge Naming Submission, c/o Wexford County Council, New Ross Municipal District, The Tholsel, New Ross or c/o Kilkenny County Council, Piltown Municipal District, Ferrybank Area Office, Ferrybank, Co. Kilkenny.

Submission forms can be posted or delivered to any Wexford County Council or Kilkenny County Council Office.

Completed email submissions go to bridge@wexfordcoco.ie or bridge@kilkennycoco.ie. Copies, duplicates or incomplete forms will be disqualified.

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