Mizen Head footbridge making waves

THE €1.8 million reconstructed Mizen Head footbridge connecting the country’s southernmost lighthouse to the mainland has scooped two major engineering gongs at the Engineers Ireland Excellence Awards.

The dramatic construct, which opened on St Patrick’s day, was voted Engineering Project of the Year by the Irish public in an online vote and also won Best Paper of the Year for a presentation given about the project.

A near-replica of the original Victorian steel structure which was completed in 1909, the bridge has attracted 55,000 tourists to its West Cork location since March.

Cork county engineer, Noel O’Keeffe, said it was not only a feat of engineering but had created jobs and attracted tens of thousands of tourists.

Mr O’Keeffe said the views from the bridge and two viewing platforms are magnificent and applauded all those involved in its construction.

“Cork County Council appointed RPS consulting engineers to design and oversee the reconstruction of this spectacular heritage structure. The contractor for the complex project was Carillion Irishenco. Without these three parties coming together this would not have happened,” he said.

“The footbridge is the culmination of a lot of teamwork allied to what we believe is the best in engineering creativity.

“This is a great example of engineering excellence as a driver for economic recovery. It is a landmark structure in terms of using reinforced concrete as a construction material and is now a noteworthy facility for the locality as well as a valuable tourist attraction,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

Other awards on the night, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge, included Engineering News Story of the Year for the Irish Examiner and the Chartered Engineer of the Year Award, given to Louise Connolly from Innishannon, Co Cork.

Ms Connolly graduated from CIT in 2004 with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and joined ESB International as a graduate engineer. She is currently a consultant engineer in ESBI.

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