Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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From 'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyageby Turtle Bunbury (MPG, 2008).

Bridges should always be magnificent. They should be designed to become iconic landmarks, representing the possibilities brought on by the connection of two sides. Plans for a bridge across the Liffey from Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to the North Wall have been in motion at least since a 1939 proposal by Abercrombie, Kelly & Robertson. With the ongoing success of the Docklands during the 1990s, so came increasing demand for a new Liffey crossing at Macken Street, about halfway between the Sean O’Casey pedestrian bridge and the East Link

Dublin City Council subsequently commissioned world-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls to create the new bridge. It is the Zurich-based designers second bridge on the Liffey; he built the James Joyce Bridge. His others projects include the Chicago Spire for Dublin businessman Garrett Kelleher and the future train station - World Trade Centre Transportation Hub - at Ground Zero in New York City.

The 120m (394ft) bridge will be cable-stayed, with a curved, inclined steel pylon. This pylon houses a rotation mechanism that allows the structure to open for maritime traffic. The bridge will have four traffic lanes with cycle tracks and footpaths on either side of the bridge. This will go a long way to opening up the Spencer Dock area. This landmark structure, of unique character, will have a curved profile leaning northwards resulting in a dramatic shape giving the appearance of a harp lying on it’s side. The total cost of the project is estimated at €47 million, which will also include a major upgrade of the approach roads. The bridge is named for the Dublin-born playwright Samuel Beckett whose uncle was responsible for building many of the terraced houses in the South Lotts. It will be completed by 2010.



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