PUBLIC opinion and submissions will shortly be invited on the prospective design for Kilkenny City’s new pedestrian bridge, which will cross the River Nore linking Bateman Quay to John’s Quay north of the Carnegie Library.
The ‘emerging preferred design option’ has been given the green light by Kilkenny Borough Council to enter a period of public consultation, following a presentation to the members last week by engineering consultant URS. The bridge is expected to cost a minimum of €450,000, with a construction period of around 15 weeks beginning in spring next year.
Options considered included beam, arched beam, lattice truss, Vierendeal arch, box girder, cable-stayed, and wooden. There were a number of other constraints including the Nore flood plain, the limited space on the east quay, obstruction of views, cost, the strength of the existing river walls, and sympathy to the environment and character of the city.
The option now being put forward is a single-span lattice truss bridge. This means that there will be no piers in the river itself, it will be relatively straightforward to construct, and will have a mininal impact on existing city views.
Director of services John Mulholland said he was confident that enough options had been considered.
“I think it is only fair that the people living in the area should get a say,” he said.
“It would be a good idea that people would be invited to come along and air their views at some point.”
The elected members gave their own reactions to the preferred design option.
“I think this is a wonderful idea,” said Cllr Martin Brett (FG).
“The truss is the obvious one to go for and we need to get that out to people.”
Green Party Cllr Malcolm Noonan agreed.
“Certainly it appears that the truss option seems to be the one meeting most of the criteria,” he said.
“I like the timber-clad detail on the design. Visually, I think it is the least intrusive. I think it has potential to be of immense benefit to the Smarter Travel Programme.”
Cllr Joe Reidy (FF) voiced a note of caution on making the decision there and then.
“I welcome that we are now at the endgame of something that we have been looking for for a long time,” he said.
“The lattice truss – certainly in the way it has been presented to us – appears to be the favoured option. I’m just wondering if we should let it go to another meeting. I think maybe it is advisable just to take a step back.”
But Cllr David Fitzgerald (FG) said he was delighted to see the project take another step along the road.
“I believe this matter should go forward for public consultation – let’s make the decision tonight,” he said.
“This issue is going generate a significant amount of public interest. I think when the feedback comes back, we should pause, take a breath and not rush into a decision quickly.”