A bridge too far: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy overspan will not open this year
Ireland’s longest bridge linking South Kilkenny to county Wexford will now not open this year as planned.
The Rose Fitzgearld Kennedy Bridge, located just a few kilometres from Waterford, will not open for traffic until January 2020, Kilkenny councillors heard this morning.
At a meeting of the Piltown Municipal District, councillors were told the completion date has been pushed back to the new year as the project has been delayed by seasonal factors.
The bridge has been beset with issues recently. Just last month emergency services were called to an accident at the bridge when a construction worker, believed to be from Italy, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The bridge was closed for a number of days following this incident and the Health and Safety Authority launched an investigation.
Prior to that in September, engineers found crumbling concrete in the support piers holding up the massive road sections of the bridge. Remedial work was undertaken to fix the problem, again pushing back the completion date.
And it has now emerged the wet weather of recent weeks has caused work to slow down yet again, which has led to today’s admission.
The massive €230 million project when completed will connect Pink Point near Glenmore in Kilkenny to Stokestown in Wexford. The 887 metre structure will form the main part of the 15km New Ross bypass stretching through South Kilkenny and into Wexford on the N25 road. The bypass is expected to significantly cut journey times between between Rosslare Europort and Limerick, while also easing the traffic congestion in New Ross and Waterford city at peak times.
The bridge will be longest “extrados” type bridge in the world, and the longest bridge in Ireland. This type of bridge uses a combination of cable-stay and pier supports to hold its two central spurs, which at 230 metres are the longest post-tensioned concrete spans in the world.
The bridge’s 887metre span makes it about twice as long as the River Suir Bridge that connects Grannagh in Kilkenny to Gracedieu in Waterford.