Answers sought over new city foot bridge

What should it be called and what should it look like?

What should it be called and what should it look like?

Just two issues to ponder regarding the city’s new pedestrian bridge due to be built next year, which will link Bateman Quay with John’s Quay. It was discussed at last week’s meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council, in the wake a €400,000 funding allocation for the bridge announced by minister of state Alan Kelly, during his recent visit to the city.

Cllr John Coonan (FF) sought assurances that the public would be given an opportunity to have a say in the design of the new bridge. Senior engineer Kieran Fitzgerald said that the overall design would go into a period of public consultation in the coming months.

He also said that there would be minimal disruption during the bridge’s construction, as the majority of the structure would be assembled off-site and transported in.

“Assuming a fair wind, we would be looking at 14 or 15 months time, around the autumn of 2013,” he said.

However, Cllr David Fitzgerald (FG) said he found it ironic and disappointing that a link was to be created between the two quays just as the Carnegie Library (on John’s Quay) was about to be replaced by a new structure at County Hall. He also expressed his desire to see some creativity in the bridge’s design.

“Given the role of pedestrian bridges where they have become iconic structures – a notable example being the Ha’penny Bridge – I am slightly concerned when I hear people saying how straightforward it is and can be brought in assmbled,” he said.

“I would not like this to be just a utalitarian bridge.”

Cllr Paul Cuddihy (FG) said the project had been a long time coming.

“In 1994, I ran for Kilkenny Corporation, and [a pedestrian bridge] was a promise made by some people at the time,” he said.

The Fine Gael councillor said the next question would be what to call the new bridge. Reflecting on his former colleague – the late Cllr Joe Cody – he proposed the name ‘the Continent Bridge’.

The saga continues.