Cork's iconic 'shakey' bridge officially open
07 January 2021 | 4 min read
On Thursday 17th December 2020, Cork’s iconic ‘Shakey bridge’ was officially opened by Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh which marked the successful completion of a complex and significant rehabilitation project for RPS, our Client Cork City Council and the Contractors. The rehabilitation and conservation project, which cost €1.7m, is co-funded by Cork City Council, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) and the National Transport Authority (NTA).
Daly bridge, as it's officially known, provides a 51m span pedestrian route over the northern channel of the River Lee between Sunday’s Well and Fitzgerald Park in the Mardyke area of Cork City. The suspension bridge is a well-known local landmark and its colloquial name ‘Shakey bridge’ comes from the lively movement of the deck. Pedestrians are known to skip, jump and run over the bridge to intentionally excite the structure while crossing and locals strongly expressed their wishes to retain the signature shake as part of the remedial works.
The bridge opened in 1927 to replace an earlier ferry crossing at the same location. It remains the only suspension bridge in Cork City and is the only surviving bridge of its type in Ireland. It's included on the Record of Protected Structures and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
On opening the bridge, Lord Mayor Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said: “I am delighted to re-open this bridge after works which will ensure it can be crossed and admired by many more generations of Corkonians. Its design, setting and high level of use have granted it a near iconic status amongst Cork people. Its ‘shakey’ quality, which may not have been originally intended, has contributed in no small way to this significance”.
Commenting on the opening of the bridge, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D. remarked: “I’m delighted to see Cork’s iconic Daly’s Bridge reopen to pedestrians and cyclists and I am particularly pleased my Department’s sustainable mobility investment programme was able to support its restoration. Over the next few years I expect to see more and more active travel infrastructure rolled out across Cork City and County as we look to build a more sustainable future for Corkonians of all ages”.
Conservation was at the heart of this rehabilitation project which included:
- Phased dismantling of the latticed deck for removal off-site for grit-blasting, repair & repainting;
- Temporary working platforms for full encapsulation to the steel towers for grit-blasting, repair & repainting in-situ;
- Replacement of suspension cables;
- Replacement of timber decking;
- Upgrade of northern & southern approaches, including parapets, lighting, bike ramp, landscaping & surfacing;
- Feature lighting of the bridge;
- Restoration of original details and features at the bridge, particularly where alterations to the character of the bridge have been made since 1927.
Sustainability was a key driver for the project team throughout the project development. The timely execution of the repair works has prevented the introduction of load restrictions or eventual bridge closure following a special inspection in 2017 which identified advanced corrosion and key structural issues. Indeed, the successful refurbishment has extended considerably the service life of the bridge, avoiding the need for demolition or replacement - a key aspect of sustainable development. The conservation principle of minimal intervention was employed rigorously to retain as much of the original material as possible whilst also minimising the carbon footprint of the project. The completed works significantly improve the bridge as a public walking and cycling amenity and further promotes these sustainable travel modes within Cork City.
RPS has been engaged by Cork City Council since 2017 in relation to the project and provided a comprehensive range of services including project management, bridge engineering, environmental and ecological surveys and consents, planning, feature lighting and electrical design, contract administration, PSDP and site supervision. The project team are delighted to return the refurbished landmark bridge to the people of Cork for current and future generations to enjoy and are pleased to report that feedback received to date indicates that the signature shake has been retained.
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