WORK has begun on a €150,000 contract to repair the Victorian lamp standards on Sarsfield Bridge, Limerick City Council has confirmed.
Remedial works to the lamp posts are also included as part of a contract Limerick City Council has awarded to County Clare company L&M Keating, who moved on site last week. Four companies bid for the job when the project was put out to tender last year.
Only minimal traffic disruption is expected in the coming weeks as the contractors bring in a crane to remove the antique lanterns. They will be boxed up and taken away before being worked on by a specialist conservation subcontractor and temporary lighting will be erected on the bridge before the lamp standards are reinstated.
Vincent Murray, senior engineer at the roads department at Limerick City Council, anticipates that the work will “take 20 weeks to complete”, meaning the lanterns should be back in their rightful place early in the new year.
The news was welcomed this week by Sinn Fein’s Sean Griffin, who has been campaigning for Sarsfield Bridge to be “restored to its former splendour”.
“The restoration of the Victorian lampposts and lanterns is to be especially welcomed as they have fallen into a very bad state of disrepair in recent years,” commented the former city councillor.
“Sarsfield Bridge is an integral part of our heritage and is an architectural gem and therefore every effort should be made to ensure that it is preserved for future generations. The bridge was designed by the world-renowned Alexander Nimmo and its design is based on the Pont Neuilly in Paris. The foundation stone was laid on October 2, 1824 and it cost an estimated £89,000 to build. It was opened by the then Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland Black Jack Fitzgibbon, or Lord Clare as he was more commonly known, on August 5, 1835. It was then known as the Wellesley Bridge.”
Mr Griffin added that the major structural works already carried out on Sarsfield Bridge in recent months would preserve the historic crossing for future generations and expressed gratitude to Mr Murray and Limerick City Council for having secured the funding to carry out the works. Former Environment Minister John Gormley had also taken “a genuine interest” in realising the project, Mr Griffin said.