Engineers to probe Foyle Bridge barrier

Engineers are to investigate the potential alteration of safety barriers on the Foyle Bridge in order to make it safer for citizens.

By Kevin Mullan
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 6:31 pm

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd says his department is currently preparing a strategic outline case on options to improve the bridge.

Back in April, the ‘Journal’ revealed that plans to locate a massive art installation on the bridge as part of the £25m ‘Our Future Foyle’ development had been scrapped and that DfI was moving ahead with its own renovation plans.

Foyle MLA Mark. H. Durkan has now pressed Mr. O’Dowd for an update on the redevelopment proposals, asking if DfI will consider raising the height of the safety barriers on the bridge.

An art installation proposed as part of Our Future Foyle will not now go ahead.

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Mr. Durkan said: “Introducing safety modifications at the Foyle Bridge is a small but important step. While I appreciate that a great deal of work relating to these measures has already been carried out by the Our Future Foyle project, it’s evident that this work is not progressing as fast as expected. Given the prolonged delay and ongoing uncertainty around the future of this project, focus needs to be turned to alternative proposals.”

Mr. O’Dowd said the safety element was only one aspect of the strategic outline case which will also look at using the bridge to encourage active travel and aid the green recovery.

Foyle ‘bubbles’ burst over budget, lack of evidenceHe said the strategic outline case for the Foyle Bridge will cover a number of areas.

“This includes considering how the bridge could be modified to encourage people to undertake more active travel journeys, increase connectivity and better aid a green recovery, which will have benefits for the mental health and wellbeing of people in the area. It will also investigate how the design of the parapets may be altered.”

Mr. Durkan said: “It is desperately sad that this infrastructure should even be required and it is no way a panacea. It is one step of many needed to establish a strategic framework of suicide prevention.”

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