The Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge (2003) Louth/Meath border
The Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge 3km (1.9 miles) west of Drogheda spanning the Boyne and the county boundaries of Meath and Louth. The bridge is tolled and forms part of the M1 motorway which links Dublin and Belfast.
The location chosen for the bridge presented significant design challenges due to the environmentally sensitive and historically important nature of the area. Although more expensive than a standard type road bridge a cable-stayed design was chosen as it’s lengthy main span would not require the construction of supporting piers which would interfere with the reed beds and mid-river island below.
The visually striking bridge was designed by Roughan & O’Donovan and was constructed between 2000 and 2003 at a cost of between €35 and €40 million.
The bridge is supported by a 95m (311 ft) tall inverted Y-shaped tower pylon anchoring the 56 cables which fan out to the bridge deck. The main span is 170m (558 ft) long flanked by four side spans on the north bank and one on the south. These vary in length from 25m (82 ft) to 45m (147 ft) giving the bridge an overall length of 352.5m (1,156 ft).
The reinforced concrete & steel composite deck is 34.5m (113 ft) wide and carries two lanes of traffic in either direction. An architectural lighting scheme illuminates the bridge at night making it one of the recognisable structures in the country.
Widely regarded as one of the most impressive civil engineering feats in Ireland the bridge was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country until the opening of the River Suir Bridge in 2009. The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland awarded it the Excellence Award (Civil) in 2006.
Originally called the Boyne Valley Bridge, it was renamed on 8th June 2013 in honour of Mary McAleese, who was President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011.