Director - Highways & Transportation
After 100 years of service, the iconic Mizen Head Footbridge was demolished and faithfully reconstructed to its original form by RPS. The complex engineering project, at Ireland’s most southerly point, was characterised by dramatic cliffs with steep, narrow footpaths and spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The project, on behalf of Fáilte Ireland, Cork County Council and the Commissioners of Irish Lights, delivered a new bridge of identical nature and form to the original structure. The project was awarded Engineering Project of the Year in 2011 by Engineers Ireland, Overall Award 2012 by the Irish concrete Society and a Heritage Commendation by the Institution of Structural Engineers in 2011. A paper describing the project was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Mizen Head Footbridge
Fáilte Ireland, Cork County Council and the Commissioners of Irish Lights
County Cork, Ireland
The landmark bridge project provided significant challenges to the design and construction teams. Access to the site was extremely difficult, via a steeply inclined footway, less than 1 metre wide.
The bridge was located in an environmentally sensitive marine location at the most south-westerly point of Ireland and was subject to severe weather due to the exposed, coastal nature of the site. The bridge had a clear span of 50m and the soffit of the deck was located 45m above a sea gorge.
The new bridge is a structure of identical nature and form to the original structure, though marginally wider (700mm). The innovative concept allowed for the initial construction of new structural members using the old members for support. The scheme progressed as an integrated series of demolition and construction of individual structural elements. The structure comprises an intricate framework of elements and the details of these elements were faithfully recreated from the original structure.
RPS also designed additional tourism facilities during construction of the bridge. These include walkways and viewing platforms, from higher viewing levels above the bridge, to enhance the visitor experience. The bridge has developed in to a major tourist attraction and is now a key attraction on the Wild Atlantic Way.
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