Sunday 17 May 2009

Liffey crossing a bridge too far for residents

IN a week that saw the new Beckett bridge float into the capital, a slightly more controversial River Liffey crossing was also given the green light.

A report on a footbridge for the river at Chapelizod – estimated to cost around €2m – was circulated last Monday at Dublin City Council, as news of Beckett's arrival was announced to fanfare.

Beckett's smaller cousin, a 40-metre structure, was first mooted in 2004 and quickly attracted objections from local residents who branded it a "bridge to nowhere".

Angered at the perceived cost of the structure, the Chapelizod Residents Association said last year that the money would be better spent in other areas.

Last week, a final report was circulated to local officials, but virtually buried under the greater glory of the capital's newest traffic crossing.

Observations, received by city planners, also criticised it saying that it would not be as beneficial as the proposed Lutyens bridge, a separate project under the guise of the Office of Public Works (OPW).

Objectors complained that the structure would lead to increases in anti-social behaviour, and one noted that it "would have no tourist usage and limited pedestrian usage compared with the proposed Lutyens bridge".

There were also submissions of support for the project, commenting that its provision would open up the area to the benefit of the community.

Local councillor Eric Byrne said that the bridge would be a welcome addition to the Liffey.

"There has been a public consultation process and now it's got the go ahead," he said.

"I think it will be a wonderful development and a beautiful bridge."

Denying any suggestion it would be seen as a waste of money given the current economy, he added: "Bridges are very important infrastructure.

"The money has been earmarked for this and it is very important."

Sunday Tribune

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