Latest Laois Event: Saving the Woodenbridge
Saving the Woodenbridge located between Ballacolla and Cullohill
Over 100 people were present at a rally on Sunday 6th March to save the unique and historic Woodenbridge over the River Erkina which is located between Ballacolla and Cullolhill.
Some time ago a structural engineer suggested that the Woodenbridge be removed and replaced with a concrete structure.
Arising from this Michael G Phelan raised public awareness to save the Woodenbridge because of its character and historical significance. A number of people spoke at the meeting and also present were Sean Fleming T.D. Minister of State, Department of Finance and Brian Stanley T.D.
Addressing the meeting Sean Fleming T.D. said that he had raised this matter with Laois County Council in recent months and received a positive response that they would respect the uniqueness and heritage value of the bridge. The Council will address the structural safety of the Woodenbridge but will ensure the timber nature of the surface will be retained. The Council agreed that once they have proposals they will discuss them with the public before proceeding with any work.
Sean Fleming T.D. also said that he raised this matter with the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan T.D. who said that the Department had no knowledge of the number of such wooden bridge structures throughout the country. This too is very concerning.
Also at the meeting it was highlighted that second bridge only a couple hundred metres from the Woodenbridge also needs substantial repairs and upgrading. Separately an area between the two bridges has been designated as a car park and planning permission has been obtained for this to facilitate the extensive use of the river as a recreational, amenity area as well as tourist attraction.
All at the meeting agreed that it is vital that the Woodenbridge be saved and that funding would also be pursued for this project and the new cark park and repair of the second bridge in the area.