“We were nearly in a Third World scenario”

TOBERONA Bridge reopened this week after a partial collapse last year left the small but important structure unusable.

TOBERONA Bridge reopened this week after a partial collapse last year left the small but important structure unusable.

While there is no little relief for locals at its reopening after a six month hiatus, many have been critical that it took so long to fix the local landmark.

Cllr Tomas Sharkey told the Democrat this week that “The bridge was closed for far too long.

“As I understand it the bridge was actually finished before Christmas, but the mortar used needed several weeks to settle.

“I think as councillors we have to learn from this situation. With the amalgamation of county council and the town council engineering departments, we have to look at how we deal with these situations in future.

“Toberona was right on the dividing boundary between the county and town councils, and I think it ultimately fell between too stools.”

Cllr Sharkey believes that a dedicated member of staff should be employed to monitor the maintainace of the county’s bridges over the course of a year.

“Maintaince is far less expensive then paying for a complete fix once a bridge has collapsed. We were nearly in a third world scenario here when the bridge looked like it wasn’t going to be repaired,” states Cllr Sharkey.

In statement to the Dundalk Democrat Paddy Donnelly of Louth County Council said: “The bridge was damaged (thought to have been impact damage by a large vehicle) around the 20th June 2012. Its condition deteriorated and a partial collapse of the parapet wall necessitated closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic in early July.

“The bridge was then structurally assessed by an appointed specialist who then made recommendations regarding repair and strengthening works to be carried out to the bridge. Contract documents were prepared and tenders sought. The successful tenderer was appointed 26th October and works on the bridge began in November, taking approx 3-4 weeks and were substantially completed by mid-Dec. However, the bridge remained closed for a further period in order to allow the lime mortar that was used to fully set. “The bridge was re-opened to vehicular traffic on Tuesday 8th January.”

The contracted repairs cost e24,115 ex cluding VAT.