Cllr Michéal Anglim wrote the following editorial on the status and plans for Ardfinnan Bridge
Now the situation with Ardfinnan Bridge has been a problem now for over a year and a half with one lane of traffic and traffic lights in place. Last Tuesday €800,000 was allocated to do the works needed to fix the bridge and this is very welcome news and well done to all who did there part to secure this money. The most important question here is when the work on the bridge is completed, will it be capable of taking two lanes of traffic as it always did before? The answer is YES.
Now, in the interest of pedestrian safety the council are proposing that even when the bridge is fixed, that traffic lights will remain in place and a six foot wide footpath and railing be put on the bridge and in doing so making it a single lane forever.
Ardfinnan Bridge is a highly protected structure and to deface it in anyway would not be allowed by the power’s that be, so widening the bridge in anyway to fit in a walkway and have space for two lanes of traffic I believe is very unlikely if not impossible. For pedestrian safety something should be done, but a footpath and permanent lights are not the only option here.
As I said at two special public meetings in Ardfinnan Hall, I feel an independent walkway bridge is what should be put in place on the lower side of the bridge and you would not be touching the bridge in anyway. I can hear you saying that is more money Michéal.
The footpath and lights will cost €150,000. Now I said it at the meeting’s also that a independent walkway bridge as wide as your average footpath 1.3meters had a cost of around €500,000 so minus the the footpath and lights which would not be needed we have nearer to €350,000 is what is needed for the bridge finished and in place. There is no need whatsoever to have a 3 meter wide walkway bridge as was suggested, that would in my opinion be madness and over twice as wide as is needed.
An independent walkway bridge would make school time a hell of alot safer and easier for everyone. Now I know you will say “fix the bridge and give it back to us the way it always was and we will be grand and then look at a way of dealing with the pedestrian safety issue”, but to be totally honest with everyone here, I cannot see the council doing that because God forbid if something happened and someone got hurt what then?
Nothing might ever happen but if a accident with a pedestrian happened, where would we be then? In deep trouble, that’s where.
Everyone needs to stay cool shouting and roaring and saying this official from the council he or she said this that or the other thing at this time or another time will get us no where only up a dead end.
All local councillors of which I am one along with Cllr Martin Lonergan and other councillors have and will respectfully push this as hard as possible at council level, I promise everyone that. TD’s of all parties can continue to work and fight for us in Dublin.
€350,000 is alot of money but it is manageable. I am a Fianna Fail councillor and with assistance of my party’s TD Jackie Cahill TD, I have spoken on this issue to the leader of our party Micheal Martin TD and will do so again soon.
Other councillor’s in the area I am sure will do the same with the leaders of there party’s or groupings and hopefully in the end we will get to where we want to be which is. Two lanes of traffic once again on the bridge in the beautiful village of Ardfinnan and pedestrians going about there way safely.