50th anniversary of Youghal Bridge


50th anniversary of Youghal Bridge

The ‘new’ Youghal Bridge celebrates its 50th anniversary this week.

Friday, 25 January 2013
12:00 AM GMT

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Youghal Bridge, Waterford County Archive has added a short history of the bridge, complete with images of the original specifications, drawings and a selection of photographs to the Waterford County Council website.

On 23rd January, 1963 the newly built concrete Youghal Bridge across the River Blackwater was officially opened. The bridge was a joint project between Cork and Waterford county councils and it had been long awaited in the area. In June 1939 following recommendations from the county surveyor, Waterford Commissioner, Simon J Moynihan, ordered that barriers be placed across the existing Youghal Bridge due to the deterioration of the iron on the structure. Buses and trucks were prevented from crossing the bridge and passengers travelling from Waterford to Cork and vice versa had to disembark on one side of the bridge, walk across and catch another bus on the far side of the bridge to continue their journey. Needless to say, this caused a great deal of inconvenience to anyone trying to travel across the River Blackwater in order to get to and from Youghal and to and from Cork and Waterford.

This was not the first time a bridge across the River Blackwater near Youghal had deteriorated beyond safe use. The first timber bridge commissioned by an act of George IV in 1828 was designed by Alexander Nimmo. This bridge was in disrepair by 1863 and a new iron bridge was commissioned in 1878 by the counties of Cork and Waterford. This was a swivel bridge to allow traffic along the river to pass through the bridge as required. Sadly the salt water that caused so much damage to the timber bridge was just as dangerous to the iron bridge and led county surveyor, John Bowen to close the bridge to trucks and buses 'forthwith' in 1938.

The new concrete bridge was built under the direction of Cork County Council, financed by a grant from the National Development Fund and a contribution from both Cork and Waterford county councils. Braithwaite Foundations and Construction Ltd and J&G Murphy Ltd were appointed to carry out the work at a new site at Ardsallagh. Drawings were drawn up in 1958 and, despite an increase in costs, work went ahead and the new bridge was ready for its official opening on 23rd January, 1963.

Readers can check out all the information under exhibitions in the archives pages of the Waterford County Council website (www.waterfordcoco.ie).

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