Northern Ireland

Narrow Water Bridge: From false starts and delays, the cross-border project looks to be finally coming to fruition

Work on the bridge linking counties Down and Louth is officially under way

Narrow Water Point and Warrenpoint Port seen from from Flagstaff Viewpoint on the hills outside Newry where the Newry River flows out to Carlingford Lough, the UK and Republic of Ireland share a border through the lough
Narrow Water Point and Warrenpoint Port seen from from Flagstaff Viewpoint on the hills outside Newry where the Newry River flows out to Carlingford Lough, the UK and Republic share a border through the lough (Liam McBurney/PA)

For all the false starts and missed opportunities, the pivotal pieces of the Narrow Water Bridge jigsaw appear to finally be slotting into place.

The official start of construction work at the site of the cross-border bridge over Carlingford Lough took place on Tuesday, heralding a new beginning for the long-anticipated project.

It is expected that the building of the ambitious infrastructure scheme, which will see a bridge link counties Down and Louth, will take around three years.

Despite being hit by delays and put on hold on numerous occasions, that final opening of the bridge will be a day campaigners behind the long-awaited Narrow Water Bridge project have hoped long and hard for.

Just a few months ago, those campaigners told The Irish News that the “dream is still alive” after funding for the scheme was confirmed by the Irish government.

And on Tuesday, the scheme took its most important another step forward when Taoiseach Simon Harris, Tánaiste Micheál Martin, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan as well as Stormont Infrastucture minister John O’Dowd visited the Omeath site of the bridge at an event to mark the start of the construction work.

When it opens it is hoped the bridge will create a new tourism destination along the island’s main transport corridor, equidistant between Belfast and Dublin and linking in the Mournes, Ring of Gullion and Cooley mountains.



It is hoped it will also aid local economic development by increasing employment levels and visitor footfall.

Greenways, mountain bike trails, walking routes and beaches will feature among the cross-border travel and recreational activities in the Carlingford Lough region.

Once completed and the ribbon is finally cut, it will mark the realisation of a scheme first proposed by visionary campaigners more than half a century ago.