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Achill bridge expected to be operational at the end of March

Achill Bridge will open next week.

Achill bridge expected to be operational at the end of March

Anton McNulty

Mayo County Council has confirmed they will not take over the running of the new Achill Sound Bridge until they are happy that it is in full working order.
Last November, the failure of the new €5 million Michael Davitt Bridge in Achill Sound caused considerable embarrassment for the Council when it failed to close for over two hours causing traffic chaos for motorists entering and leaving the island.
As a result of the failure of the bridge to operate properly, Mayo County Council ordered the consultants and contractors of the bridge to carry out a full investigation into the failure of the bridge to close. Mr Joe Beirne, Director of Services with Mayo County Council said the contracts for the bridge were ‘still live’ and that they would not re-commision the bridge until ‘everything was put right’.
At last week’s Belmullet Electoral Area committee meeting, Mr Michael Mongan, Senior Engineer said ‘minor modifications’ have taken place and expected the bridge to be opened on a trial basis during the next week, but it will happen at night.
“The problem was nothing to do with the structure it was something mechanical and could be as small as a fuse. We need to get to the bottom of the problems which occurred last November to ensure it never happens again. We have been lucky with the weather that we have not been required to open it but I am confident that we will be able to open it by the end of the month,” he said.
Cllr Gerry Coyle said he was happy with the reassurances that the problems to the bridge would not be at the cost of the Council, and that they had gone back to the consultants and told them to put things right.
Achill based councillor Micheál McNamara said that the report into the cause of the bridge not working properly should be given to the councillors and asked what procedures would be put in place to ensure that the bridge is operating properly.
Mr Mongan said that the bridge would be opened monthly to ensure it is working properly and that there will always be maintenance work carried out on it.
Cllr Michael Holmes said that while the problem was embarrassing for the Council he was sure it would work out but asked what would the public have to do to open the bridge.
Mr Mongan said they will be placing advertisements in the papers with contact numbers to use and people will have to give 48 hours notice before opening the bridge. He added a procedure will be put in place to allow the lifeboat to open it in case of an emergency.

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