Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, attended a special event to mark the completion of the cross-border Drogheda Viaduct refurbishment project.
In receipt of €6.1 million worth of funding under the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), the project will ensure that existing journey times on the Dublin-Belfast railway line are maintained.
A significant refurbishment, the project has involved the installation of a new drainage system to capture and remove rainwater, steelwork repairs to replace sections of the bridge’s steel infrastructure and the relaying of track work over the viaduct itself.
Designed by Irish civil engineer Sir John MacNeill construction of the viaduct was originally completed in 1855 and at the time was considered to be one of the wonders of the age.
Iarnród Éireann was the lead partner for the delivery of the refurbishment project which will now ensure the safe and efficient operation of the railway line. It is an icon of the town of Drogheda, and of Irish civil engineering.
Speaking at the launch of the project Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the SEUPB, said: ‘This project will help to deliver upon one of the core objectives of the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, in terms of supporting infrastructure that will create a more sustainable cross-border region. The refurbishment of the viaduct will ensure continued levels of rail service within the Dublin to Belfast corridor, thereby safeguarding continued cross-border business and tourism development.’
Match-funding for the project has been supplied by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) in Ireland and the Department for Regional Development (DRD) in Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the completion of the refurbishment project Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe T.D, said: ‘The rail line connecting Dublin and Belfast provides a very important cross-border transport link. The refurbishment of the Drogheda Viaduct on the line will help ensure that we continue to enjoy safe, efficient and punctual rail services along this strategic transport corridor, which plays such a key role in supporting the development of trade and tourism between the two biggest cities on the island.’
The old paintwork covering the viaduct has been removed and replaced with a more suitable and modern protective paint system which will help to safeguard the stonework over many years.
Congratulating Irish rail on the refurbishment work Northern Ireland’s Minister for Regional Development Michelle McIlveen MLA, said: ‘I congratulate everyone involved in the successful completion of the Viaduct refurbishment project. This is a significant achievement which will ensure that our future plans for improved and modernised cross-border services between Belfast and Dublin are realised.’