Easy does it! Limerick City and County Council’s new €247,000 bridge is carefully lowered into place in Kilmallock Picture: Michael Cowhey
DUE TO the recent dry spell Kilmallock’s new quarter of a million euro footbridge was not placed over troubled waters.
The 28 metre long and two metre wide hardwood timber deck was built off-site and lowered into place last Thursday. It is located downstream of the existing road bridge on the R512 Bruff road.
The footbridge was supposed to arrive in Kilmallock the previous week. A rumour was rife in the town that it was delayed because it was built a metre short. However, a council spokesperson said it was a tall tale.
“There is no truth in the rumour. The hoist needed to lift the bridge into place was unavailable as it was needed by the company on a different job,” they explained.
The new crossing is a key component of an ambitious council plan to provide a series of linked walks in and around the medieval town. The estimated cost of the project is €247,000 which has been financed on an equal basis by Hinterland funding and Limerick City and County Council development funding. They say it will provide a greatly improved link from the historic town to the recently developed riverside walk.
When it is opened – in the next couple of weeks – the existing footpath on the North bridge will be removed so it will widen the carriage way.
Trevor McCarthy, of Kilmallock Medieval Tours, said the old five arch bridge over the Loobagh was built circa 1800.
“It was rebuilt in 1916 and may contain early medieval elements. The bridge is built from locally sourced limestone with cast-iron ties and inscribed plaque to west wall, shedding some light on the continued upkeep and rebuild of the bridge through the centuries.
“The bridge, however, is unsuitable to the mix of modern vehicles and pedestrians and has posed serious risk to pedestrians. The new footbridge has come as very welcome news to the community. It will also link the on-going development of a town loop walk that will provide a significant public amenity for the townspeople and tourists,” said Mr McCarthy.
Cllr Mike Donegan said the original motion was passed in 2013 and the footbridge will “provide a safe pathway for pedestrians”. Deputy Niall Collins said it is a win for everybody – motorists and pedestrians.
Minister Patrick O’Donovan tweeted a photo of him at the site, saying “Great to see work progressing on the new footbridge”.