Donegal County Council says it will cost over 150,000 euro and take over two years to build a footbridge at Cockhill on the outskirts of Buncrana.
Cllr Jack Murray, has called for the development of a footbridge as a matter of urgency for pedestrian safety as funding is unavailable for the construction of a new bridge.
The development of the bridge has been on the agenda for more than 30 years.
The cost of a new bridge is in the region of 3 million euro. Director of Services for Roads, Mr John McLaughlin, told the may meeting of Donegal County Council that 226,000 euro had been set aside from collected development charges to fund works at Cockhill Bridge.
“So far 28,000 has been spent with a further 138,000 committed to design and site works leaving a balance of 60,000 available to co-fund alternative or interim options,” he said.
“Should an interim option be agreed it would cost 150,000 and two years to build a footbridge. It is highly unlikely the Department of Transport will have funds for the bridge for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Cllr Murray, said the development was a ‘priority’:“There is a huge number of houses close to the bridge and they have to cross the bridge as the chapel, school and shops are on the far side of the bridge. If you meet somebody it is very dangerous,” he said.
“The bridge is over 100 years old and is no longer fit for purpose. I’d call on the executive to ring fence the 60,000 euro for the construction of the footbridge. We can’t wait until somebody is knocked down on the bridge before we do something,” he added.
“The new Cockhill Bridge will be a vital piece of infrastructure in Inishowen and will open up the north of the peninsula, ease traffic congestion and increase road safety in Buncrana.The bridge is, and will remain to be, the most important infrastructural project in Donegal; but while continuing to prioritise the new bridge project, we have a duty to ensure the safety of those who use the existing bridge.
Supporting the motion Fianna Fail Councillor Rena Donaghey, said members from the Inishowen Area had agreed to make this issue a priority.
“An emergency situation arose in 2009 when a good section of the bridge was knocked down- unfortunately not all of it,” quipped Cllr Donaghey.
Fine Gael Cllr Bernard McGuinness, said there were ‘serious concerns about the bridge’.
“It has been on the agenda here on the council for over 30 years.
“It is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in Inishowen. The footbridge is necessary now- if it saves one life- it is needed,”
Labour’s Martin Farren added his support while Cllr John Ryan said Cockhill Bridge was ‘probably the longest running saga in Donegal’.