Northern Ireland

Narrow Water Bridge construction to get under way as contact awarded for major cross-border project

Funding for the bridge was confirmed earlier this year by the Irish government

The Narrow Water Bridge project was first mooted almost 50 years ago
An artist's impression of the Narrow Water Bridge project, which is expected to get underway within weeks

Work on the long-awaited Narrow Water Bridge is expected to begin “within weeks” after a €60m contract for the project was awarded.

The bridge between Warrenpoint in Co Down and Omeath in Co Louth will be built by BAM Ireland, the construction firm behind projects including the River Suir Bridge in Waterford and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge, which opened in Co Kilkenny in 2020 and is Ireland’s longest bridge.

The 280m cable-stayed bridge at Narrow Water is set to include lanes for motorists and cyclists, and plans to build the cross-border project had been previously shelved in 2013, a year after it received planning permission.

The project had first been proposed over 50 years ago.

In February it was announced that the Irish government was to contribute to the cost of the project through its Shared Ireland funding.

It is now hoped that the bridge could be completed by 2027.

Stormont First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she was “absolutely delighted” that the contract had been awarded, saying she expected work to commence “within weeks”.

“This will be transformative for south Down and the Cooley areas, creating a wealth of opportunities and unlocking the huge potential to create good quality jobs, boost tourism and create a stronger, all-Ireland economy,” she said in a statement posted to X.

“She added it was an “exciting time ahead for local communities in south Down and Louth”.

Her Sinn Féin colleague and south Down MP, Chris Hazzard, said: “This long awaited project is moving another step closer to reality with work set to start in the coming fortnight for a period of 36 months.”

He added he would continue to support the project “to ensure it is delivered to improve the lives of workers, families and local businesses across South Down”.

Jim Boylan, who chairs the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network group which has long lobbied for the project, told the Irish News: “We welcome this much-awaited good news. The project will be getting underway within the next couple of weeks after what has been a very long campaign involving local people here.

“It will bring provide a huge boost to tourism in the Carlingford Lough area.”