Sinn Fein call for road bridge at Bannfoot

A road bridge should be build over the River Bann between Charlestown and Columbkille, says Sinn Fein

Monday, 5th July 2021, 12:39 pm

Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd welcomed progress on Narrow Water Bridge between Warrenpoint and Omeath in Co Louth.

He said: “It brings into sharp focus the need to bridge the Bannfoot between Derrytrasna and Columbkille to allow traffic and pedestrians to circumvent Lough Neagh.

“I call on Minister Mallon to put the same energy and emphasis into bridging the Bannfoot as has been quite rightly put into the Narrow Water project.

A view from the Bannfoot near Charlestown which has been developed as a viewing point. Across the River Bann the bank at Columbkille has yet to be developed. Various parties are calling for a bridge over the river.

“It’s simply absurd that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians cannot circumvent Lough Neagh but instead have to take a 15 mile detour to complete a journey of a few hundred yards.

“The tourism potential of such a bridge is huge with the opening up of the area to cyclists and tourists who to date have been redirected miles away from the Lough.

“The bridging of the Bannfoot is of regional importance and it long past time it was given the priority it deserves.”

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “Minister Mallon has an ambition to significantly increase opportunities for active and sustainable travel, to give everyone the freedom and confidence to be able to walk, wheel or cycle in our city safely. Last year the Minister set up a £20 million blue/green infrastructure fund to support the transformation of our communities and promote active travel and committed £5million of that funding to the Covid Revitalisation Programme to support the development of a number of initiatives.

The Department’s proposals for greenways are set out in ‘Exercise – Explore – Enjoy: a Strategic Plan for Greenways’ which was published in November 2016, following consultation with all Councils. The development of a walking and cycling bridge at Bannfoot was not among the proposals identified or submitted by Councils.

Any proposal to build a bridge at this location would be for the local Council to consider in the first instance, in consultation with the local communities and stakeholders.

Active travel is very much needed not only for health and well-being but also as a significant action in our response to climate change and the Department will continue to work with local Councils and other stakeholders to deliver further improvements in this area.”

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