Louth County Council in the Republic of Ireland has confirmed that the proposed cross-border bridge, providing a link to County Down in Northern Ireland is now on hold as tenders from construction companies were substantially above the allocated budget. Tenders received ranged from €26m to €40m (£22m to £34m) plus VAT.
The bridge across the Newry River at Narrow Water has the support of the Republic of Ireland of Ireland and Northern Ireland governments and secured funding of approximately €17.4m earlier this year from an EU fund. The project also won approval last year from the planning authorities.
A spokesperson for Louth County Council said: “Having examined all of the tenders received from contractors competing to build the bridge, it is clear that their estimates of the cost of construction are considerably higher than the figures we have been working with to date. This leaves us with a substantial funding shortfall. Our focus now is on seeing if this can be filled through any combination of additional funding and cost reductions.
“While our ambition remains to see this socially and economically desirable project through to completion, the reality is that it is now effectively on hold. At this time, we want to record our appreciation for the support that we have received to date from all of the various stakeholders in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.”
The current Narrow Water Bridge project commenced in 2008 when Louth County Council engaged Roughan O’Donovan Consulting Engineers to design a bridge in keeping with the outstanding natural beauty in the area.