The completion of the Mullingar orbital road, begun nearly 13 years ago, is expected to be finished by late summer with the completion of what is claimed to be “the longest bridge in the country”.
This was revealed this week at the Mullingar Area meeting of Westmeath County Council when county manager Danny McLoughlin gave an update on the €40m project to Cllr Mick Dollard.
The final section of the road, from Clonmore Business Park to the Lynn Road roundabout is under construction and consists of a 780m, two-lane section of raised carriageway over marshy ground, including over the Brosna and Lacy’s canal.
In his enquiry to the county council, Cllr Mick Dollard (Lab ) wanted to know whether this was the “longest bridge span in the country”, but was told by Mr McLoughlin: “I’m not sure if it can be called the longest in Ireland but I will find out for you”.
Work on the site began in March 2009 and is expected to be completed in August this year. Of the €20m cost of the closing link, the bridge will cost €12m.
“The proposed bridge crosses the flood plain of the river Brosna and Lacy’s canal. The ground conditions, which consist of 10m of peat over 20m of very soft silt, mean that constructing the bridge will be a considerable engineering challenge,” said Mr McLoughlin in his reply.
Naas firm, Messrs Jons Civil Engineering Co Ltd will be responsible for the final design and construction.
“When it crosses Lacy’s canal allowance will be made for boats to pass underneath having a 3.1m (10ft ) clearance between bridge and water,” said Mr McLoughlin.
The last stretch will see the bridge constructed, including piling, abutment work, approach embankments and all the required tie-ins with the old N52 at the southern end and the C-Link at the northern end.