By Dan Walsh
The prestigious Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge linking Wexford and Kilkenny located south of New Ross and crossing the River Barrow has won a prestigious international award for engineering excellence and design.
The International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering said the bridge is “a landmark structure” that has pushed the boundaries for the span of a “concrete extrados bridge”. The association is a scientific and technical group with members in 100 countries, was founded in 1929 and has its seat in Zurich, Switzerland.
The bridge was awarded the Outstanding Structure award in the Bridge or Other Infrastructures category.
It was built as part of the N25 New Ross bypass project and is one of most remarkable bridges in Ireland, rising from the east and turning north, before making landfall on the west of the Barrow.
Most bridges are built along straight lines. But this one contains the longest post-tensioned all-concrete spans in the world. While there are longer spans in bridges, they all take advantage of a lighter steel composite section in the central part of the main span.
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge carries the N25 road over the River Barrow, it has a total length of 887 metres (2,910 ft), is made of concrete and the design is described as ‘extradosed bridge’.
It has nine spans, the longest is 230 metres (750 ft). Construction began in 2016 and was completed in December 2019. It was ceremoniously opened on January 29th 2020 by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Rose Katherine Kennedy Townsend and opened to traffic the following day – January 30th.