THE WINNING design for what has been described as an iconic and symbolic foot and cycle bridge across the River Foyle in Derry was unveiled yesterday.
The £13.3 million (€14.5 million) 235m long and 4m wide S-shaped bridge will span the river between the Foyle embankment behind the Guildhall and the former British army base at Ebrington in the Waterside.
Work on the Peace Bridge will start in September with a completion date in October next year. The contract for the design and construction of the bridge has been awarded to Graham, one of Northern Ireland’s largest engineering contractors. The Co Down company has built some of Ireland’s best-known bridges including the Dargan Bridge in Dublin as well as the Foyle Bridge in Derry and the Belfast cross-harbour road and rail bridges.
Funding for the Peace Bridge has been provided by the European Peace III Programme with contributions from Governments North and South.
The North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the Peace Bridge would be a catalyst for change in Derry which would tranform the entire community.
“It will unite the city physically, symbolically and emotionally and will be a powerful and lasting symbol of the moment a divided people started to reach out to each other,” said Mr McGuinness.
Plans for a foot and cycle bridge were first submitted to the planning office 15 years ago. Yesterday Brenda Fraser, director of development with the urban regeneration company Ilex which is behind the project, said the bridge would be a world class development and herald “a new era for citizens and visitors alike and will act as a catalyst for transformation and future growth”.