Mary Elmes Bridge to be installed this weekend

Mary elmes bridge moored at Penrose quay

Cork’s newest bridge, the 165 tonne Mary Elmes Bridge, will be installed in Cork city centre this weekend.

The bridge is resting at St Patrick's Quay having been moved under two city centre bridges from Penrose Quay at lunch time. The two cranes will be installed tonight and it’s hoped that installation of the first will begin at around 8pm so that impact on city centre traffic can be kept to minimum.  

The same two 500 and 750 tonne cranes, which lifted the bridge on to a barge in Cobh Shipping Yard earlier this week, will be erected on Merchant's Quay and St Patrick’s Quay late tonight, Friday.

Traffic diversions will begin on Merchant's Quay and St Patrick’s Quay from 10pm as the cranes are erected. Alternative traffic routes will be in operation. See details below.

On Saturday morning, subject to suitable weather conditions, the cranes will raise the bridge’s superstructure from the barge and place it on the newly-built abutments (supports) on the quays.

The pedestrian and cycle bridge, which will connect St. Patrick's Quay and Merchant's Quay and will be used by up to 11,000 people each day, was fabricated by Thompsons of Carlow. In February and March, it was transported overnight in nine sections to Doyle’s Shipping Yard opposite Cobh train station.

Lord Mayor, Cllr Mick Finn said: “This new bridge will be one of the key elements in a plan to promote and develop sustainable transport options such as cycling and walking in and around the city. The installation of the bridge itself will be a historic moment for the city and I encourage people to turn up and view it from the river banks."

Pedestrian access in the vicinity of the works will be facilitated where possible. To facilitate the public’s safe viewing of the bridge lift, pedestrian railings will be put in place.

It’s expected that the bridge installation will be completed and the cranes removed, tomorrow, Saturday, weather permitting.

Alternative traffic routes are as follows:

Merchant's Quay eastbound traffic will be diverted via Bridge Street, Mac Curtain Street and Brian Boru Street.

St Patrick’s Quay westbound traffic will be diverted via Brian Boru Bridge, Andersons Quay, Custom House Street, N27 Albert Street, Old Station Road, Sullivan’s Quay. Merchant's Quay.

Westbound traffic will be diverted via Andersons Quay, Custom House Street, N27 Albert St, Old Station Road, Sullivan’s Quay.

The Mary Elmes Bridge in numbers:

  • The bridge has a clear span of 66m from St Patrick's Quay to Merchant's Quay.
  • Each of the two bridge buttresses contains 148 cubic metres of concrete and 24 tonnes of steel.
  • The bridge superstructure consists of 165 tonnes of steel plate which form a central spine beam with cantilevered steel decks. For ease of construction and transportation, the superstructure was subdivided into nine sections. The nine bridge sections were joined together in Doyles Shipping Yard in Cobh.
  • The bridge spine beam varies in depth and width for structural and aesthetic reasons. The overall depth of the spine beam varies from 2m to 1.6m. It is fabricated from varying steel plate thicknesses of 20mm, 30mm & 50mm.
  • Flood protection barriers will be integrated into the parapet walls, meaning that in the event of a particularly high flood, the bridge ends can be closed by pulling across the integrated flood barriers.
  • Lighting on the bridge will be provided by energy efficient LED fittings recessed into the handrails. Below deck feature lighting will also be used to highlight the spine beam.
  • The bridge’s underfoot surface will consist of resin bound fine grained grit.