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Published in Construction on 29/01/2020

Ireland’s Longest Bridge Opens in Wexford

CNI Editor reports

THE new N25 New Ross bypass in Wexford will transform the economy of the south-east thanks to a near €700 million investment in road infrastructure across Wexford.

The vow came as the longest road span bridge in Ireland removes one of the worst remaining traffic bottlenecks nationwide – with New Ross famously witnessing 12km tailbacks in 2012 when the National Ploughing Championships were staged in Wexford and the town’s single river crossing struggled to cope with traffic volumes.It also removes the worst bottleneck from the strategic Cork to Rosslare Europort route.

Officially opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend – after whose great-grandmother the bridge is named – the new €230 million bypass is a key element of the near €700 million in infrastructure projects unveiled in Wexford over the past two years.

The bridge – built by BAM and Dragados and supervised by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Wexford and Kilkenny Co Councils – will officially open to the public on Thursday.

The 887 metre structure crossing the River Barrow is the centrepiece of the new 15km New Ross bypass – and will link with the existing Waterford bypass and the €400 million M11 Gorey-Enniscorthy road network which was opened last July.

It is now the longest bridge in Ireland with its two main spans the longest post-tensioned concrete spans of their type in the world. A workforce of 300 was employed on the project which was delivered after 2.5 million working hours.

Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend, who is the grandchild of Robert and Ethel Kennedy and grandniece of President John F Kennedy, attended the opening of the bridge which was named in honour of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, matriarch of the famous Irish-American family.

The new bypass is also expected to deliver a major tourism boost to such local attractions as the John F Kennedy Arboretum, the Kennedy Homestead and Dunbrody famine ship. It is a stone’s throw from Dunganstown, the ancestral homestead of President John F Kennedy and the eight other siblings of the famed Kennedy family.
Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend’s mother, Kathleen, is the eldest of Rose F. Kennedy’s grandchildren.