By Dan Walsh
Wexford County Council, the Fisheries Authority and the ESB are working in tandem to restore Kiltilly Bridge which was seriously damaged following the infamous torrential Christmas downpour. The bridge closure is causing annoying inconvenience forcing some local families to take an 8km round trip.
There has been a bridge at Kiltilly since the early 1700’s carrying traffic between the parish and half-parish of Kilrush and Askamore. The current bridge consisted of five stone-built arches, but four were long ago blocked off by overgrowth and the single arch was capable of coping with all storms for generations until the Christmas Day deluge.
The crystal clear fast flowing stream that flows beneath Kiltilly Bridge rises in the high ground and flows towards Ballamon, about 3kms away, and from there is piped to Ferns where it serves houses and residences as the Ferns Public Water Supply constructed in the 1970’s.
Power cables controlled by the ESB also use the bridge crossing. The underground cables originate at the Knocknalour windfarms and are carried in the direction of Tombrack.
Local Cllr Donal Kenny has been to visit the damaged bridge and speak with affected residents. He told WexfordLocal.com that Senior Engineer at Wexford County Council Eamonn Hore visited the site on Thursday and confirmed that “a full under bridge inspection” will be held and “all foundations must be checked.”
Local resident Jimmy Lancaster told WexfordLocal.com that the stream approaches the bridge from the side, which he claimed “is unusual” and it escaped any damage. It was the exit of the arch that gave way. “We have never seen anything like this before,” he concluded.