Plans progress for Kintyre to Northern Ireland bridge
A leading Scots architect has asked for a feasibility study into a Kintyre-Northern Ireland bridge. On Wednesday, at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Professor Alan Dunlop showed an artist’s impression of the potential structure to an audience of international architects. Professor Dunlop has estimated that a bridge across the North Channel could cost between £15 billion and £20 billion and could be between the Mull of Kintyre and Torr Head, or between Larne and Portpatrick. The Courier first reported Professor Dunlop’s plans in February this year. At the time, Professor Dunlop told the Courier: ‘A bridge to Northern Ireland from the Mull of Kintyre has advantages over the Galloway option. ‘Coupling a Kintyre bridge with a series of smaller bridges - for example, from Tarbert to Kilfinan and Dunoon to Greenock - would greatly improve the road journey to the central belt and make the Kintyre site a much more attractive proposal, resulting in regeneration of Kintyre and Argyll towns. ‘The significantly longer bridge from Portpatrick to Larne faces the major problem of the 31-mile long, 200m deep, Beaufort’s Dyke.’ On Wednesday, Professor Dunlop said that research should be carried out into the social, economical and cultural benefits of a bridge as well as any challenges its construction may pose. After his speech, he told the Courier: ‘Both routes are possible, engineering-wise. Both present geological challenges but they can be overcome. ‘Today, I’ve asked for a feasibility study to look at these issues and move things forward.’ In February, the Courier compared a potential bridge from Kintyre to Northern Ireland, to the Øresund bridge, which connects Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden. Professor Dunlop drew on this comparison during his speech, referencing the fact that the Øresund bridge links two separate countries, each with their own distinct identities but sharing a cultural heritage, similar to Scotland and Northern Ireland. He pointed out the political benefits of linking the two UK countries, especially post-Brexit. He believes a bridge may re-balance the concentration of power held by Westminster and be an investment in what he considers to be the true north. Argyll and Bute MSP, Michael Russell, said of the plans: ‘A bridge, together with better road links to the central belt, would open up Argyll in a dramatic new way. ‘I would be keen to see public bodies investigate the feasibility of such a link.’
Professor Alan Dunlop’s drawing of a potential ‘Celtic crossing’ from Scotland to Northern Ireland.