Viewing points set up to watch Cork's newest bridge being put in place

The Mary Elmes Bridge being guided along the quays by ribs prior to its final positioning over the weekend. Picture: Howard Crowdy

Viewing points have been set up on Cork’s northern quays for people to watch the city’s newest bridge be lifted into place in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Pending favourable tidal conditions and wind speeds, two cranes will hoist the 66-metre span Mary Elmes pedestrian and cycle bridge into place to link St Patrick’s Quay and Merchants Quay sometime between 2am, and 7am.

If conditions delay the first lift, arrangements are in place for a second lift after midday.

Traffic diversions will be in place on both quays from around 10pm tomorrow night as the cranes are assembled, and for the duration of the lifting operation.

But pedestrian railings have been installed to facilitate members of the public who may want to watch the superstructure being lifted into place.

The 165-tonne bridge, which was fabricated by Thompsons of Carlow, was shipped to Doyle’s Shipping Yard in Cobh several weeks ago and was transported by barge, with the assistance of a tug, upriver to the city centre today ahead of the lift.

Lord Mayor Cllr Mick Finn said its installation will be a historic moment for the city.

“After a vibrant public consultation process, Cork City Council voted to name this new piece of city infrastructure as the Mary Elme's Bridge, often described as the Irish Oskar Schindler for her heroism during World War II,” he said.

“This new bridge will be one of the key elements in a plan to promote and develop transport in and around the city. The installation itself will be a historic moment for the city and I encourage people to turn up and view it from the river banks.”

  • Bridge Facts

  • It will be another few weeks before it's open for use. It’s expected to be used by up to 11,000 people every day.
  • The bridge superstructure consists of 165 tonnes of steel plate which form a central spine beam with cantilevered steel decks. The spine beam varies in depth and width for structural and aesthetic reasons.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists will cross it on a surface made of resin-bound fine-grained grit.
  • The bridge was made in nine sections which were joined together in Doyles Shipping Yard.
  • Engineers poured 148-cubic metres of concrete and placed 24-tonnes of steel in each buttress to take its weight.
  • Flood protection barriers will be integrated into the parapet walls to allow the bridge ends close during flood events.
  • Recessed energy-efficient LED light fittings have been set into the handrails and a below-deck lighting system will light the spine beam from underneath.

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