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Bridge between NI and Republic ‘will make a difference’ as project moves to construction

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The bridge is designed for vehicular, cycle and pedestrian traffic. The bridge will connect the A2 Newry to Warrenpoint dual carriageway with the R173 at Omeath and will also open to allow the passage of ships through and on to the Newry Canal.

It will see a 195m cable-stayed bridge produced after preparatory works on the cross-border project got underway earlier this year.

An allocation of more than 102 million euro plus VAT is being provided towards the project from the Irish Government’s Shared Island Fund – but the total cost of the project is not clear.

Taoiseach Simon Harris was in attendance at the commencement announcement on Tuesday, along with Tánaiste Michéal Martin.

The Taoiseach said: “The mountains meet the sea all along this stretch of stunning coastline and this bridge will be a game-changer for commerce, daily life and tourism in this part of our shared island.”

Mr Martin, who established the Shared Island Unit, said this project “was always front and centre” of his mind.

“This project is a clear physical manifestation of the philosophy underpinning Shared Island,” he said.

“It embodies our ambition for reconciliation, a closer relationship between North and South, and progress.

“Today is the realisation of a vision long shared across this stretch of water, delivering on the desire of both communities to reach out, to connect and to grow together.”

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd, who was also in attendance, welcomed the move to construction of the project.

He said: “This is an historic and significant day for the people of this area.

“I have no doubt that this new bridge will be a game-changer for many reasons. The bridge will provide a poignant symbol of connection between the north and south. It will play its part connecting communities on both sides of Carlingford Lough and in doing so it will create opportunities for local tourism, as well as the local economy by providing an increase in visitor footfall and employment levels.

“It will serve as a vital element of cross-border active travel while facilitating greenways, mountain bike trails, walking routes and beaches in the Carlingford Lough region.

“This new landmark is a perfect example of the difference infrastructure projects can make in people’s lives.”

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