CORK’S political leaders have joined forces to secure Government funding for the design of a bridge which could unlock the city’s docklands for regeneration.
City manager Joe Gavin briefed the city’s TDs and councillors at a meeting yesterday, called by Lord Mayor Cllr Mick O’Connell, on the critical need for the €2.5 million funding package to design the Eastern Gateway Bridge.
The 51-metre span bridge will cross the River Lee from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to the skew bridge on the Lower Glanmire Road.
Once built, it will be the largest of its kind in Europe. It was costed several years ago at up to €80m but city officials believe significant savings of up to 25% can be achieved in the current economic climate.
The city applied for funding for its construction under the Gateway Innovation Fund, but the Government stalled funding as the economy faltered.
The bridge was cleared by An Bórd Pleanála last April and Mr Gavin said the city is now seeking €2.5m to allow it proceed with the detailed design and public tendering process for its construction.
Despite the downturn, he said he still has full confidence in the docklands project. “If Cork docklands is not a viable project, there’s not much hope for this country,” he said. “It’s 300 acres of land within 20 minutes walk of City Hall in the second largest urban centre in the country. I am confident the Government will see the merits of investing in the design of the bridge.”
To date, the city council has invested some €14 million in the docklands project.
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