A new bridge too far
Former chairman of Wexford County Council John Hegarty has said he wants to dispel the 'urban myth' that a third bridge is to be constructed over the River Slaney in Wexford town.
The Crosstown resident said he is concerned about a perception being promoted that the local authority is currently progressing plans for a new bridge.
The 'third bridge' (between Ferrycarrig and Wexford town bridges) is talked about by officials whenever traffic problems are mentioned and is also referenced by developers in planning applications as a key piece of proposed infrastructure.
The bridge gets significant mention in a planning report which accompanies a current Strategic Housing Development proposal for 413 residential units on the old Cement Roadstone Holdings site at Carcur, and was prepared in response to questions raised by An Bord Pleanála in related to the application.
It states that land has been reserved to accommodate another bridge over the River Slaney, of a similar design and scale to the existing Ferrybank Bridge and this will not be affected by the new housing development.
Cllr. Hegary, current chairman of Gorey Municipal District, said he has regularly fielded questions about the new bridge.
'And last week I read yet again about a proposed development that includes talk of land being set aside for a bridge, even talk of the design and scale of the bridge', he said.
'This is entirely misleading. The facts here are very different and it is important that the clear reality is reflected.'
'There are no proposals anywhere at Council or at government level to build another bridge in Wexford', stressed Cllr. Hegarty who is Deputy Principal of CBS secondary school Wexford and chairman of Gorey Municipal District.
'Any such bridge would cost in the region of €100 million to construct. The Council has not set aside any money for it, nor is there the prospect of getting any funding for such a bridge.'
'It is not on a national route to anywhere and therefore, unlike the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypass, it will not attract central government funds.'
Cllr. Hegarty said the only place another bridge is mentioned is as a notional aspiration in what hd described as the outdated Wexford Town development plan that was developed over a decade ago and is currently four years overdue to be reviewed.
'What we now see is a number of large scale proposed developments that are relying on this out of date plan to progress their applications. It is convenient for them to attempt to turn it into a fact in an attempt to justify planning permission.'
'These attempts to secure and maintain the value of their land cannot take precedence over the impact that large scale developments will have on the current infrastructure. The current bridge will remain the only bridge and it is important that the public is aware of this fact and that is reflected in assessing future development of Wexford.
Cllr. Hegarty said last year, the council sent a copy of its economic investment programme for the county between up to 2022 to each household in Wexford and it lists every large scale project proposed or planned with either Council or national funding.
'Despite the fact that there are 28 projects proposed for the Wexford district, totalling over €70 million, at no point is there a mention of a new bridge. It is not on the Council Capital Programme, it is not on the Governments 20/40 plan.'
'The facts really cannot be clearer that there is no bridge proposed and this should not be misrepresented', he said.