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 Post subject: bridge
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Narrow Water Bridge project put on hold pending costs and funding review
Louth County Council has today (July 9th) confirmed that the proposed cross-border Narrow Water Bridge to link Co Louth with Co Down has been put on hold after tenders received from construction companies for the project ran substantially above the allocated budget. Tenders received ranged from €26m to €40m plus VAT.

The bridge across the Newry River at Narrow Water has the support of the Republic of Ireland of Ireland and Northern Ireland governments and secured funding of approximately €17.4m earlier this year from the INTERREG IVA programme administered by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The project also won approval last year from An Bord Pleanála and the Northern Ireland planning authorities.

A spokesperson for Louth County Council said today: “Having examined all of the tenders received from contractors competing to build the bridge, it is clear that their estimates of the cost of construction are considerably higher than the figures we have been working with to date. This leaves us with a substantial funding shortfall. Our focus now is on seeing if this can be filled through any combination of additional funding and cost reductions.

“While our ambition remains to see this socially and economically desirable project through to completion, the reality is that it is now effectively on hold. At this time, we want to record our appreciation for the support that we have received to date from all of the various stakeholders in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.”

The current Narrow Water Bridge project commenced in 2008 when Louth County Council engaged Roughan O’Donovan Consulting Engineers to design a bridge in keeping with the outstanding natural beauty in the area. The same company designed the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge on the M1 Dublin-Belfast motorway.

The single-carriageway, 195 metres cable-stayed Narrow Water Bridge is designed to connect Cornamucklagh near Omeath, Co Louth with Narrow Water near Warrenpoint, Co Down and the total length of the proposed scheme is 620m.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:21 pm 
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The south trying to get something for nothing again. Playing politics and going to europe cap in hand looking for more money, Shame on you Louth and Dublin. ::-((


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:10 pm 
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I knew the"d find an excuse to stall it.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:21 pm 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-23246878

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In a written statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly on Tuesday, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy announced his decision to proceed with the bridge orders for the project. He said he understood the bridge orders would not have taken effect until mid-October.

'Solidarity'
He later said that since making his statement to the assembly, he had learned that Louth County Council had announced the project had been put on hold.

Mr Kennedy said that this decision was unexpected and that it was "coincidental" that the council had made their decision on Tuesday.

He said it would have to be a Northern Ireland Executive decision if any additional funding was provided for the project and further support would be needed from the Irish government.

"Whether or not it is worth pursuing that will be a matter for the promoters," he added.

"Alternatively, and I think separately, what the Department of Finance has to look at is whether or not there is benefit in bringing forward other schemes that can meet the deadlines and can come in under budget and that can spend European money that is available to us."

The Special European Union Programmes Body said on Tuesday it had only recently "been informed of the tender response values for the construction of the Narrow Water Bridge project".

It said it was "currently in discussions with the lead partner, East Border Region, to ascertain the full implications of this information and its impact on the project's delivery".

The MP for South Down, Margaret Ritchie, has demanded a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny over the decision by Louth County Council to halt the project.

She said she would be urging Mr Kenny "to explore and to try and provide additional funding for the project and to examine if the European Union might have resources to assist with reducing the shortfall".

"At this time, the financial support and solidarity of both the British and Irish governments as well as the Northern Ireland Executive is required to deliver this project which would assist in making a contribution to the local economy in South Down and the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth," she added.

Sinn Fein assembly member, Caitríona Ruane, said "all should endeavour" to ensure the project reached completion.

She said her party remained committed to the scheme, which was of "huge significance" for the area.

"Given that this is an infrastructural project, in the overall scheme of things it is a relatively small amount of money and must be considered alongside the long-term economic benefits that it would bring to the Down and Louth area," she added.

"I would press the Irish and British governments along with the (Northern Ireland) Executive and Europe to work closely together in order to ensure that the money is found and this project can reach completion."


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:39 pm 
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The ups and downs of dealing
with a " Boom and Bust " economy.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:08 am 
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It's a bit unfair to blame "the south". Surely the question to ask is what the original estimate of £17m was based on and how these stack up against the specifications provided to the contractors. It could be the case that the original estimate was unrealistic. So rather than blaming "the south" perhaps you should query the civil servants involved. With regard to the "boom and bust" comment if you strip away the contribution made to the NI economy by the civil service you wouldn't find an economy that is capable of operating on its own. So rather than having a go at your near neighbours let's try to be constructive!


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:42 am 
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Aoyama wrote:
It's a bit unfair to blame "the south". Surely the question to ask is what the original estimate of £17m was based on and how these stack up against the specifications provided to the contractors. It could be the case that the original estimate was unrealistic. So rather than blaming "the south" perhaps you should query the civil servants involved. With regard to the "boom and bust" comment if you strip away the contribution made to the NI economy by the civil service you wouldn't find an economy that is capable of operating on its own. So rather than having a go at your near neighbours let's try to be constructive!


From what i understand the 17.4 m Euro was funding from Europe towards the cost of building the Bridge, the short fall was to be paid for by Belfast and Dublin.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:19 pm 
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When Louth County Council asked
the Civil Engineers to come up with
a design for the Bridge, that was in
2008,any cost estimate would obviously
not be relevant 5 years later.

Back in 2008 the Funding expected
from the Southern Government was
not a problem, but with the UK
having to bail out their failing
economy, it now is.

Equally, the chances of extra Funding
from Stormont is anything but certain.

Perhaps an increase in the Grant from
Europe is the only hope we have.

A lot of dedicated people have put
a lot into this project, let's hope it
is not abandoned.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:16 pm 
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The project has been subject to the most stringent of assessments by many bodies and within the past year this has included the EU funding body plus Government departments on both sides of the border. All the figures would have been looked at, reviewed on numerous occasions and no issues were raised. If the EU body had thought the estimates were that far out it would not have been approved. Have those involved in tendering seen this as an opportunity to take a chance for a bigger profit by putting in an inflated figure with the hope that the bridge would be bailed out as they will have seen that efforts of those behind the project have been so successful in getting the public on board?

Our only hope would appear to be for those who have tendered to come back with more realistic figures with the possibility that Dublin might help to make up the difference, if costs can be brought back to more acceptable levels. Without the efforts of many in the Republic at both County Council and Governmental levels we would not even be having this debate. If we were to hope that Stormont would come up with some more money I fear we may as well forget about it as, with a few exceptions, they have been the most reluctant of 'bridge partners', which is short sighted in the extreme as this project offers so much for the economy of this part of the country and beyond.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:06 pm 
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Excellent evaluation of the situation, Pat.

The variance in Tender Quotes seems a
little extreme, with the top Tender more
than 50% up on the lowest.

Assuming a mid-range quote of €30 million,
that would leave a shortfall of €13 million, to
be met by the three Funding Partners.

Given the history of this Project, it would
appear the additional funding would need
to come from the EU and Dublin.

I think we need to be more than a little optimistic. ~x(


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:54 pm 
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I can't actually say much here (as I am a member of the bridge group) but can assure you that high level talks on all sides are underway and ongoing. As for blame Nobody saw this coming. It was simply not on the radar at all, but every effort is being made and I can assure you that everyone involved so far is still working hard to try and bring this project to fruition.


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:53 am 
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Glad to hear all parties still on talking terms,as when I met Jim Boylan immediately after it all apparently went pear shaped he was actively recruiting an angry mob [ similar to those who stormed Baron Frankenstein's pile]to march upon the next meeting of the Louth County council armed with lighted torches cudgels and most noticeably calculater's. Anybody who witnessed Jim and Sinn Feinn's Caitriona Ruane's joint live BBC interview on the evening the "knuckleball" had been delivered to the Bridge Project's midriif could not help but notice his angry/hostile demeanour ...but amid that anger I did see a steely determination ..[ Jim has devoted so much time/energy to the Bridge Project his lifelong devotion to Everton has been derailed,I am not even sure he has realised Davey Moyes has decamped from leafy Wirral to grimy Salford just yet !] so I for one will not count Boylan out just yet, no sir not me.
Actually Brian if the project is to be salvaged when would work actually have to begin in order to achieve the neccessary completion date under the terms of the funding ?[ I did hear the Project being described as "shovel ready"]..it is easy to be a Monday morning Quarter Back and pick holes in the Louth County councils role,but don't think this would be in any way constructive and indeed churlish given how delicately poised the whole situation now is..having said that according to none other than UTV's Jamie Delargy Finance Minister Sammy Wilson for all his prevarication has been proved to have played a blinder [ how England could do with Wilson at the crease as they endeavour to retain the Ashes]..the Samster with his ruddled countenance strikes me as a man who might enjoy a full bodied claret,whilst devouring every page of a rollicking good yarn by Sir H Rider Haggard [KBE]


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 Post subject: Re: bridge
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:29 am 
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I can't really answer that in full without breaching confidentiality but there is a set time limit for all of this, and that is why all efforts are being made sooner rather than later. But as I said, rest assured no stone is being left unturned, and nobody on the committee (and indeed much further afield) will be seen to be wanting. I don't think I've ever been in a meeting with so many diverse politics and views all singing off the one hymn sheet.
Jim was indeed in fine form, and must indeed take a lot of the credit for not giving up despite many many hurdles being placed in our way since this all started. Hurdles I may add that were overcome, let's not forget just how far this project has come - only a few months ago we had the doom sayers preaching that Sammy and Danny would never sign the papers they were sent. I find it somewhat strange that they (I suppose to use an analogy like a beaten football team supporter) have gone strangely quiet.


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