Relocation of Cork foot-bridge ruled out over costs

Trinity footbridge. Picture: Larry Cummins

The relocation of a footbridge as part of the first major flood defence works in Cork city has been ruled out after the ESB refused to pay for the diversion of high voltage cables.

The refusal emerged following a request from Fianna Fáil councillor Tim Brosnan that city officials would consider demolishing or reconstructing Trinity footbridge which links Union Quay with Morrison’s Island, as part of the flood defence works earmarked for the area.

Quays in that area of the southern channel of the river Lee are the lowest-lying in the city centre, are most exposed to tidal flooding, and are set to get the first flood defences as part of the OPW’s €160m massive flood defence plan for Cork.

Pending the outcome of a Part 8 planning process, it is hoped work installing the flood defences and upgrading the public realm on Morrison’s Island will start this summer. Officials say the scheme will protect against 70%-80% of the tidal flooding that affects the city centre island area.

Mr Brosnan asked before Christmas that consideration be given to demolishing or reconstructing Trinity footbridge as part of the project. He said the bridge, built in 1974/75 for £24,000 via the proceeds of pay-parking has contributed to flooding in the area ever since.

The city’s head of environment, David Joyce, said the option of replacing the bridge was considered as part of the design of the Morrison’s Island public realm scheme.

“However, it was established that there would be a very significant cost associated with the necessary diversion of the two existing ESB high voltage electrical supply cables that are installed in the existing bridge deck structure,” he said.

“Therefore, the option of a replacement of Trinity Bridge was ruled out, as the available project budget is insufficient for these works.”

Mr Joyce said the current design plans will mitigate the existing flood risk associated at each end of the bridge through a combination of local ground raising and demountable floodgates.

“It is also proposed to construct new wider, flared approaches to the bridge to further enhance the quality of the existing bridge as a public realm asset,” he said.

Mr Brosnan said it was “appalling” the ESB had refused to cover the cost of diverting the cables.

“We should be removing or relocating this bridge. Are we serious about addressing the city’s 

A spokesman for the ESB said the company was approached by the consultants on this project with a general query in relation to the Trinity Bridge. 
 
"A detailed assessment will be required to establish the optimum solution, having regard to cost and technical feasibility. ESB will continue to engage on a satisfactory solution for all parties concerned," he said.

Following a council vote on Monday last, Cork City Council will take responsibility for the delivery, as a single project and under one contract, the flood defence works and public realm upgrades on Morrison’s Island.


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