REVIEW 2020; Crossing the longest bridge

By Dan Walsh

The New Ross bypass scheme was opened to traffic at 10.15am on Thursday, January 30th, 2020. It eased chronic traffic congestion in New Ross town offering time savings of up to 30 minutes and provided efficiencies on the strategic N25 route from Cork to Rosslare Europort while also supporting the future growth and sustainability of New Ross town and the South East region.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR unveiling the memorial stone at Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge. Also in picture are Minister Paul Kehoe, Cllr Michael Sheehan, Cathaoirleach Wexford County Council, Rose Katherine Kennedy, Cllr Peter Cleere, Cathaoirleach Kilkenny County Council, and Cllr Joh Fleming, Cathaoirleach New Ross Municipal District Council.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar joined Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend at the official opening ceremony of the N25 New Ross Bypass on Wednesday, January 29th 2020.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said; “This new bypass, which includes Ireland’s longest bridge, will transform New Ross, Wexford, Kilkenny and the South-East.”

Speaking at the event great-grandchild of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy; Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend said, “This bridge is a wonderful tribute to my great grandmother, and a symbol of her enduring love and lesson that it does not matter who you are, where you come from, we are all God’s children. When some leaders threaten to drive us apart we need to honour those who build bridges that bring us together.”

An Taoiseach LEO VARADKAR and Rose Katherine Kennedy take a quiet stroll on the new N25 New Ross Bypass.

Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council Cllr Michael Sheehan said the new road network will enable the redevelopment of the region, unleash potential and rejuvenate New Ross. “I would like to congratulate all of the people involved in every aspect of today’s project on a job well done. Our time has come; a new chapter in our future is now ours to write. With a global marvel of engineering and a sophisticated road network at our door, County Wexford is now ripe for a new era of investment, industry and interest.”

Wexford County Council Chief Executive, Tom Enright said; “The N25 New Ross Bypass is another vital link in the overall connectivity and safer access to and from the South East Region; to and from County Wexford and the town of New Ross in particular. This major infrastructural development will help to attract investment into the Region. The resolution of the chronic traffic congestion in New Ross will result in environmental and quality of life improvements, which will make the historic town a destination of choice.”

The 15km Bypass Project includes the 887-metre long structure named the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge, the longest bridge in Ireland, and its two main spans are the longest post-tensioned concrete spans of their type in the world. The bridge crosses the River Barrow between Wexford and Kilkenny and forms a major part of the €230 million investment in the South East region and was delivered within budget.

The delivery of the N25 New Ross Bypass is the culmination of over 20 years work by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly National Roads Authority), Wexford County Council and Kilkenny County Council as well as technical advisors for the scheme, Mott MacDonald Ireland. Construction works were undertaken by New Ross Joint Venture, consisting of BAM Civil and Dragados. On average, a workforce of 300 people was employed throughout construction and approximately 2.5 million work hours were completed on-site to bring the scheme to fruition.

The viewing stand at the opening of the N25 New Ross Bypass and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge as An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses the invited attendance on January 29th 2020.

The 35th president of the United States, John F Kennedy’s ancestors hailed from Dunganstown and the Kennedy Homestead is less than one mile from the new bridge. President Kennedy proudly visited his family town of New Ross in the summer of 1963.

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