Press Release – Official Opening of Annaghroe & Knockaginny Bridges

Press release 20 October 2010
Dempsey opens replacement bridges at Annaghroe and Knockaginny

Opening re-establishes important cultural links between cross-border communities in Monaghan and Tyrone

Today, the Minister for Transport Mr Noel Dempsey, T.D. officially opened the replacement cross-border bridges at Annaghroe and Knockaginny. These bridges over the Blackwater between Glaslough in County Monaghan and Caledon in Co. Tyrone were closed in the 1950’s and 1970’s respectively.

In 2007 at a North/South Ministerial meeting, the Irish Government gave a commitment to fund the replacement of these two bridges. This was an historic decision as it was recognised that there was no longer a security justification for the last two such cross border roads remaining closed.

Speaking today, Minister Dempsey said: “This is an historic occasion re-establishing the physical and cultural links between the cross-border communities of Counties Monaghan and Tyrone. In addition to reducing journey times for road users in the area these bridges will serve some isolated communities and will allow a more productive use of farmland in the areas they serve.”

Minister Dempsey added; “The Irish National Development Plan contained a commitment specifically providing for the re-opening of the remaining cross-border roads closed during the Troubles. Today I am officially announcing the completion of that work and the fulfilment of that commitment. I wish to congratulate all who have been involved in this very important project. “

The Department of Transport funded the bridges and the resurfacing of the approach roads as a special project under the Regional and Local Road Funding Scheme. The Northern Ireland Roads Services provided funding to resurface the approach roads in Northern Ireland.

At the opening, Northern Ireland Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew, said: “Re-opening of these bridges marks an historic day for communities and parishes in this area. The new bridges reunite and reinstate connections which had been lost decades ago and will bring great social, cultural and economic benefits to the area. I welcome the completion of the work by Roads Authorities on both sides of the border and commend the residents and landowners for their co-operation and patience during construction.’’

Mr Declan Nelson, County Manager (Monaghan County Council) said: “I would like to acknowledge the commitment of the Department of Transport, the Elected Representatives, the Northern Ireland Road Service, Council staff, Mott MacDonald Consulting Engineers, Jons Civil Engineering Co. Ltd and the co-operation of the landowners and the public, all of which has resulted in the successful completion of the Annaghroe and Knockaginny Bridges Project.”

Further information:
Department of Transport Press Office: (01) 604 1090 / (01) 604 1091.

Notes for editors:

In 2007 at a North/South Ministerial meeting, the Irish Government gave a commitment to fund the replacement of the Cross Border Bridges at Annaghroe and Knockaginny over the river Blackwater, between Glaslough in County Monaghan and Caledon in Co. Tyrone.

In 2008 Monaghan County Council appointed Mott McDonald as Consultants to design the bridges and in December 2009 Jons Civil Engineering Co. Ltd, Duleek, Co. Meath were awarded a one million Euro Design and Build Contract to build the bridges. Construction started in January 2010 and the bridges took approximately nine months to complete.