An analysis on the Victorian Castlerock footbridge is scheduled to take place in an estimated 10-12 weeks.
Members of Causeway Coast and Glens Environmental Services Committee received an update on the bridge which is currently sitting at the council’s Newmills depot after it was removed from the seaside village of Castlerock in 2017.
DUP Councillor Adrian McQuillan has been pressing for an update on the historic bridge and at the September committee meeting the Bann DEA councillor asked ‘we can expect to see the bridge back in Castlerock where it belongs’ and ‘can we have a timeline when the bridge will be placed back in Castlerock?’
The report stated that; ‘Mann Williams Consultants have issued costs to complete the additional analysis necessary to satisfy the requirements of Translink and Council that the bridge is safe to re-install. This work will commence shortly and is estimated to take 10-12 weeks. Council and Translink have agreed to meet monthly to keep abreast of progress.
Speaking at the October meeting, Councillor McQuillan asked for an update on the site meeting he had requested adding: “I see it says in 10 or 12 weeks time we will have the showdown and see exactly where we are at. What about the site meeting we requested?”
Adian McPeake, Director of Environmental Services confirmed an invite would be issued for next week.
The Mayor, UUP Councillor Richard Holmes commented: “10 to 12 weeks seems a long time given the amount of time we have spent doing inspections and stuff.”
Mr McPeake explained that Mann Williams would have to carry out a finite element analysis which puts all the structural components into a computer model to assess the strength of the bridge. Prior assessments didn’t go into such detail and so considerable work is required for them to revisit the model to establish that.
Mr McPeake added: “The issues Translink have raised have been taken into account and that’s the instruction we have given Mann Williams that they have to satisfy the questions that Translink have asked.
“There is still the possibility that having done this more detailed design that it still may not pass so we have to go through the process to assess it fully to establish that.”
The Mayor asked if it was possible Translink would continue to put obstacles in the way of the bridge’s restoration and replacement to which Mr McPeake said: “It will come to a point that the bridge will have been assessed to the point where it will be able to be put back or not.
“If after this it still doesn’t pass Translink won’t let it back in.”
Following the meeting Councillor McQuillan said: “I would like to thank the rest of the committee for the support they are now showing me and the people of Castlerock in getting the bridge back to where it belongs.”