Cork's iconic Shakey Bridge is to be dismantled and out of action until next Easter as repair and restoration works begin next month.
Contractors will be on-site from August 12 to address corrosion and damage to the 93-year-old Daly's Bridge - the structure's official name.
The bridge is a protected structure, completed in 1926 and opened to the public in 1927.
The repair works will cost €1.7 million and will be funded by Cork City Council and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
The main bridge structure will be dismantled in sections, as per originally assembled, and lowered onto a barge. This will make the handling and transportation process more manageable and safer. The barge will be moved to the south bank where each of the sections will be lifted separately onto a flatbed transporter and taken to the off-site specialist workshop.
Once delivered to the specialist workshop, each of the bridge sections will be extensively cleaned with all corrosion removed. Defective steelwork will be repaired followed by the application of a protective coating and layered repainting under factory conditions.
In accordance with conservation best practice, the guiding philosophy for these works will be to conserve as found. It is intended to return the bridge to site in sections as previously removed and re-erect as per the dismantling process in reverse.
Once the main bridge structure has been dismantled and removed, both remaining bridge towers will be wrapped in a special covering to prevent any material from entering the river. Works to each tower will then begin, commencing with extensive cleaning and removal of corrosion. Defective steelwork will be repaired followed by the application of a protective coating and layered repainting.
During the same time period, the existing suspension cables will be removed and replaced with new cables currently being manufactured in Italy.
Dismantling the bridge for repair off-site under factory conditions is considered best practice and has been undertaken successfully on a number of similar bridge schemes across Europe.
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald welcomed the news that work is set to begin. "For many years residents in the Sunday’s Well area have highlighted the need for these repairs and I have brought these concerns to Council. I’m glad this iconic and unique connection to the Northside of the city will finally be refurbished," he said.
Daly's Bridge is a single-span steel suspension bridge which spans the north channel of the River Lee in Cork City and provides pedestrian access between Sunday’s Well to the north and Fitzgerald’s Park and Ferry Walk in the Mardyke area to the south.
It was constructed by the London-based David Rowell & Company of Westminster in London to a specification of Stephen W. Farrington, the then Cork City Engineer.
It was then, and still is the only suspension bridge in Cork City. Built to replace an old ferry crossing at the location, the bridge takes its official name from Cork businessman James Daly, who contributed to the cost of construction.
L&M Keating Ltd. is the main contractor for the restoration project, backed up by a design and construction team including RPS Consulting Engineers, JCA Conservation Architects, Corrosion Solutions and Inspection Services, and in-house City Council staff.