18 May 2022

£40,000 spent allowing County Derry footbridge to become a 'big rusty mess'

Cllr Adrian McQuillan has vowed to keep the issue on the Council agenda.

£40,000 spent allowing County Derry footbridge to become a 'big rusty mess'

A DUP councillor has hit out at the council's handling of a historic County Derry railway footbridge after a report revealed the timeline of its attempted preservation.

Cllr Adrian McQuillan was responding to a report brought to Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council's Environmental Services Committee last week which detailed action taken on the bridge.

The report showed dealings on the bridge went back as far as October 2015, when an initial report detailed the extensive costs required to repair the bridge at Castlerock Train Station.

In December 2017, the bridge was removed from the train station and subsequently assessed by the Council's consultant between January and March 2018, who concluded it was not fit for reinstatement.

A further report from Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) consultant Mann Williams in June 2019 said the bridge needed only cosmetic repairs, but Translink and the council's consultant – Doran's – disagreed.

In correspondence between November 2019 and February 2020, Translink continued to reject Mann Williams' report as a basis for repair and reinstatement.

After a further year of inaction due to Covid-19, Translink have now said they will only accept a full Category 2 assessment on the bridge as evidence for its restoration.

The report concluded by stating Translink and Doran's were of the opinion Mann Williams had not provided adequate information to prove the bridge was sound.

Questioning council official Aidan McPeake, Cllr McQuillan referenced reports showing around £40,000 had been spent initially removing and preserving the bridge.

“We've spent that money on that bridge just to lie out, and it's just a big rusty mess at the minute,” he said.

“I actually think this Committee should have a site visit to see the condition it is in. If the people in Castlerock saw this, they would be appalled.

“It's something I think is worth keeping on the agenda for the next couple of months so we can keep on top of it.”

A proposal that a report on the status of the bridge be brought to the Committee on a monthly basis and a site visit be arranged was passed.

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