Plans progress for Kin­tyre to North­ern Ire­land bridge

Campbeltown Courier - - NEWS - Han­nah O’Han­lon ed­i­tor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk

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.

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