The proposed bridge will span the Newry Riverat Narrow Water near Warrenpoint, crossing to Cornamucklagh, near the village of Omeath. Total length of the bridge and approach roads is 660m.
The single-carriageway cable stayed structure will open to allow river traffic to pass. The project is seeking funding from the Special EU Projects Body. Subject to funding, construction could start next year.
Northern Ireland environment minister Alex Attwood said: "This will be a tremendous boost for the South Down/North Louth area. Narrow Water Bridge will be the most significant infrastructure project in the border region for many years. Indeed, it will be the first North-South bridge since partition.
"The bridge is an opening bridge that enables tall ships, leisure craft and other marine vessels access to the Victoria Lock and the Albert Basin in Newry. The bridge will act as a gateway to the Mourne and Cooley Mountains for people and tourists south of the border making it much easier for visitors travelling each way. It will be a great economic boost for the area, creating construction jobs in the short term, enhance tourism and promote greater community interaction across the border.”