At a meeting of the Castlebar Electoral Area Committee on Thursday, July 12, the long-running Turlough Bridge saga was discussed by newly-elected chairman, Cllr Blackie Gavin and committee members.
Addressing the committee, Senior Engineer Patsy Bourke explained that the repair project was at the stage where contractors were being procured. The 120-year-old Turlough Bridge has been closed for over three years, adding three to four miles onto residents’ journeys.
“We have selected five contractors, and we are currently consulting with engineers. We expect to have tenders in early August,” explained Mr Bourke.
A number of councillors and representatives questioned the issue of funding for the bridge, which has been closed for the last three years, asking Seamus Granahan, Director of Services, if work can go ahead without money.
“In the event of this motion being passed here, I am confident, worst case scenario, we would get funding from the EU cohesion fund, and get it delivered,” said Mr Granahan.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Cllr Michael Kilcoyne described the issue as ‘a long battle’. “It has to start. I forced through a motion last year to make sure this was the council’s biggest priority,” said Cllr Kilcoyne.
Cllr Kilcoyne described the ongoing problem as ‘a total inconvenience, especially for farmers and people wanting to cross the N5’. However, he believes that there is ‘an end in sight’, with plans for work on the bridge to start later in year.
“It is clear that some people in the council weren’t making any great pushes to sort it out, but the council is now in a situation where they have to do it,” the councillor concluded.
Commenting on the recent developments, a Turlough resident said locals were ‘delighted’ to hear that work is to start in the not-too-distant future. “We are delighted that the contract is nearly ready, and we have been promised that the money will be allocated for the work.”
According to the resident, the bridge closure has had a negative impact on tourism. “It is a straight run to the N5, and is the original entrance to Turlough. It is beside Turlough House and the round tower, major tourist attractions. There has been huge confusion on tourists’ part who don’t know how to access these places.” explained the local resident.
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