Northern Ireland

Shared Island-funded Belfast bridge project matched with Cork city scheme

Plans are underway for a new bridge linking Belfast's Titanic Quarter to its historic Sailortown area.
Plans are underway for a new bridge linking Belfast's Titanic Quarter to its historic Sailortown area. Plans are underway for a new bridge linking Belfast's Titanic Quarter to its historic Sailortown area.

BELFAST'S Sailortown area has come a step closer to seeing the creation of a new bridge linking it to the city's Titanic Quarter through Irish government funding.

Belfast City Council's Strategic Policy and Resources Committee agreed the walking and cycling bridge would be a prioritised project through the Shared Island Fund, set up by the Irish government to “promote practical north/south cooperation”.

The proposed bridge, which is at the bidding stage for funding, would be matched with a bridge across the River Lee in Cork as part of an effort to revive the docklands area of both cities.

At a committee meeting earlier in the summer it was revealed Belfast and Cork are also to join forces on a rooftop solar heating project.

In total €90,000 has been earmarked for the Cork-Belfast partnership to develop a Cork Belfast Solar PV Study and to develop investment opportunities aligned to docklands regeneration.

A Belfast City Council report states: “The Docklands project focus arose from the opportunity to connect two important maritime economies and drive decarbonisation, growth and innovation.

“Ports are key hubs for trade and investment and support small and medium enterprises and employ thousands of workers. Significant capital investment is planned for both the Belfast Waterside and Cork City Docklands areas and these areas represent two of the largest regeneration areas in Europe.”

On the bid for a new bridge, it states: “Providing a new cross-harbour cycle and walking swing bridge, this connection would complete the Harbour Loop, a continuous connectivity loop from the Lagan Gateway to the uppermost point of the northern dockside, providing a continuous active travel corridor along both sides of the Lagan.

“The project will improve connections between the Sailortown community and Queen’s Island, improving economic opportunities, as well as restitching the original shipbuilding facilities at Clarendon Dock with maritime facilities on the eastern quays.

“The proposed bridge will also provide enhanced connections between North Belfast communities and education, tourism, employment and innovation opportunities within Queens Island, as well as providing a critical sustainable and active link between Yorkgate Train Station and Queens Island.”

The plan for the bridge was the preferred bidding option over suggestions including a new tourism centre in the Thompson Dry Dock adjacent to the new Titanic Distillery.

Referring to the proposed bridge in Cork, the report adds: “The pairing of the two bridges will provide connections at a local level for both docklands in terms of reconnecting communities to the areas of opportunities, providing enhanced leisure facilities along the Lagan and the Lee, and provide a significant contribution in terms of delivering sustainable and active travel infrastructure to enable the respective dockland areas to meet their climate obligations."