Omagh bridge installation goes awry

The installation of a bridge costing thousands of pounds over a river in Omagh, Co Tyrone has had to be aborted after it warped before it was put in place.

Published 20/02/2013 12:00

On Monday, a work crew attempted to install the 40-tonne steel foot-and-cycle bridge.

The project was funded as part of a £900k scheme to create a new riverbank foot-and-cycle pathway joining local communities between Hunter Crescent and Lisanelly together.

The local council and the Department for Social Development, as well as transport charity Sustrans, have supported the build which has been the culmination of years of planning.

A tandem lift using two cranes was needed to swing the bridge into position, which requires considerable engineering and preparation.

However, before the bridge reached the opposite bank, parts began to become noticeably warped.

The stress caused support struts to visibly bend and reaching the other bank became a bridge too far.

Omagh District Council has said that the operation was suspended due to "complications during installation" and associated damage to the structure.

A statement explained: "Council officials have received an initial briefing from the contractor for the section (McLaughlin & Harvey) and have requested a report by the end of the week identifying what happened and outlining the actions proposed to complete the installation of the Bridge.

"Work on the remaining element of the £900k project is unaffected and it is currently anticipated that the project will be completed on programme.

"The project funders, Department for Social Development (DSD) and Sustrans have been appraised of developments and are continuing to work with the council to progress the project."

It has not yet been established what caused the damage or when another attempt to install the bridge will be made.

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