£3 million iconic footbridge for Strabane

An iconic foot and cycle bridge is to be built in Strabane.

The Tyrone town will follow in Derry’s footsteps following the Social Development Minister Alex Attwood’s announcement of £3m for the ambitious project.

Consultants are to be appointed soon to start design work on the landmark structure, which is to be known as Melvin Bridge and will span more than 70 meters. The new bridge will be located 250 yards upstream from the existing road bridge on the River Mourne.

Alex Attwood said the new bridge, which is to be constructed by Strabane District Council and is part of charity Sustrans Connect2 project, will be “good news for people in Strabane”.

“This Bridge will greatly improve the links between the communities on both sides of the River Mourne, provide greater access to the sporting facilities in Melvin Park, and introduce safer routes to local schools

“The Council in partnership with DPF’s Central Procurement Directorate has now begun the process to appoint consultants to undertake this work which is a key element in the process of bringing the Melvin Bridge to reality. I anticipate that the design work will be completed by July and the Council will be able to begin construction before the end of the year allowing the bridge to be in place by late 2012.”

Councillor Michaela Boyle, Chairperson of Strabane District Council said the bridge had been in the planning stages for many years. “It now looks certain that this iconic bridge will change the landscape of the river by 2012. We thank our funders, - particularly DSD and Sustrans.”

Chairman of Strabane 2000, Colr Eugene McMenamin, said the new bridge will be “the Jewel in the Crown, both visually and environmentally”.

Sinn Féin Strabane Councillor Jarlath Mc Nulty described the announcement as” a triumph for the determination and persistence” of all those who never gave up lobbying on the issue.

Rick Cook, Scheme Manager for Sustrans, said: “This is a very welcome step forward in the realisation of this project which once complete will benefit greatly the local community of Strabane, providing more options for making local everyday journeys on foot or by bike.”