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Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is looking at options for an opening bridge as part of the Southern Relief Road project, and has asked for a costs benefits analysis to be carried out. That's according to MLA Justin McNulty who tabled a question on the matter to the Assembly Minister last week.

An opening bridge over Newry Ship Canal is a necessity for most of these craft to be able to continue to travel into the heart of Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
An opening bridge over Newry Ship Canal is a necessity for most of these craft to be able to continue to travel into the heart of Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Mr McNulty said, "Newry has a strong and long maritime heritage and I want to see access to the Albert Basin and Newry Canal safeguarded as part of the new relief road proposals. The project is a key component of the Belfast City Region City Deal which includes Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

"The current proposal would see a fixed bridge constructed and it would only allow vessels under 12 metres to access the Albert Basin and Newry Canal.  This is very restrictive and would contradict the plans to see the whole area opened up again which is integral to the regeneration of the City."

The Newry and Armagh representative continued "I raised this issue with Minister Mallon and I am delighted that she has committed to looking at potential options for an opening bridge and has asked for a costs benefits analysis to be carried out.  Nichola has proven to be a listening Minister and I know she has engaged with local Councillors and Officials from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and she has committed to further engagements.

"The Southern Relief Road is a key infrastructure project for Newry and indeed for the region. It will ease traffic congestion which cripples our city, but it would open up the huge potential that Warrenpoint Harbour has as a port and as an economic driver.’ 

"I am delighted Minister Mallon has listed to the concerns of the people of Newry and those who want to see our maritime heritage protected and I look forward to future engagements with her and her officials on this issue."  

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