Published Monday, 15 October 2012
An artist''s impression of Narrow Water Bridge. (© Department of the Environment)
It comes after Stormont Environment Minister Alex Attwood gave the green light to the proposals on Friday morning.
An Bord Pleanála said Louth County Council can go ahead with the construction at Narrow Water provided a special roost for birds affected by the project is built.
Louth County Council said members want it to be opened by mid-2015.
Gerry Adams TD said: "The Narrow Water Bridge will cost almost €18m but its economic and social impact will be significantly greater.
"It will provide a huge boost to the local economy, create new jobs and spur economic growth in this region."
The proposed single carriageway, cable-stayed opening bridge will be 660m long and cost around €18m or £14.5m - with hopes that most of the funding will come from Europe.
It crosses the Newry River at Narrow Water to the Omeath Road at the townland of Cornamucklagh, near the village of Omeath.
Announcing the approval last week, Mr Attwood said: "This will be a tremendous boost for the south Down/north Louth area.
"Narrow Water Bridge will be the most significant infrastructure project in the border region for many years. Indeed, it will be the first North/South bridge since Partition."
The DOE received a number of objections to the proposal.
They related to the potential changes to sedimentation in the navigational channel; access to the navigational buoys and lights on the Newry River; access to the control tower; and potential changes to the aids to navigation and road safety and traffic, particularly around the A2 Roundabout.
South Down MP Margaret Ritchie welcomed the news of the An Bord Pleanála approval.
"For the first time on the island of Ireland, we have achieved political and infrastructural symbolism through the provision of planning approvals to enable a bridge to be provided to link the Mournes with the Cooley Peninsula," said the SDLP politician.
"The hard work and diligence of the local communities in Warrenpoint and Cooley have paid off. They envisioned a dream some 35 years ago which will hopefully become an engineering reality by 2015."