THE south docks are crucial to the city's future - and the long-awaited Eastern Gateway Bridge is the key to realising this potential, according to the chief executive of Cork City Council.
City chief Ann Doherty welcomed moves to revitalise the docklands, with a mixture of public and private enterprises looking set to transform the entire area.
Part of this is set to be funded by central government grants, with the city recently securing some €46 million under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund.
Ms Doherty said the City Council was 'delighted' to secure such a significant allocation, which equates to roughly one-fifth of the total sum allocated nationwide by Minister Simon Coveney.
The money will be used for infrastructural upgrades in key areas in a bid to activate previously untapped land for major housing projects.
A site on the Old Whitechurch Road, which has been idle for more than a decade since purchased by the local authority, and the city docklands are two areas likely to benefit under the scheme.
Ms Doherty explained that the finer details were currently being ironed out at local and national level, with senior city officials set to meet with government representatives in the coming weeks to finalise the plans.
It is hoped that part of the funding unveiled by Minister Coveney may be used to deliver the long-awaited Eastern Gateway Bridge.
The bridge would link Tivoli to the south docks, enabling the build of hundreds of homes on the quays, as well as easing traffic congestion throughout the area by providing an alternative transport corridor for thousands of motorists.
Ms Doherty described it as 'key' to the success of the docks.
"The Eastern Gateway bridge is very important," she said.
"Some of these projects we can deliver without the bridge, but we are limited in what we can do without it. If we want to get the absolute most out of the area, the bridge is the key."
Several other areas in the city's docklands are set to see a major revamp in the coming years.
In addition to the recently revealed plans for a skyscraper on the former Port of Cork site, plans for offices at Navigation Square on Albert Quay have been approved, while other proposals for Horgan's Quay adjacent to Kent station are understood to be nearing completion.
"The south docks is very important for the city," Ms Doherty said.
"There aren't many sites like it in Ireland and it represents great potential for Cork so we are very excited to see moves underway on so many projects in the area."