New pedestrian and cycling bridge to form central element of Galway-Clifden Greenway

Structure linking university and Woodquay will be located 300m from under-development Salmon Weir bridge

Plans to develop a new pedestrian and cycling bridge spanning the River Corrib were unveiled at Monday’s meeting of Galway City Council.

The proposed development, which will be built on the surviving pillars of the old Clifden Railway Bridge, will be located around 300 metres from the Salmon Weir Pedestrian Bridge, currently under development.

The main structure of the €5 million Salmon Weir Pedestrian Bridge was installed in December of last year, and the bridge is expected to be opened to the public before June.

The proposed new Clifden Railway Bridge will provide a direct connection between the University of Galway and the Woodquay area of the city, and has been earmarked to be a major element of the Galway to Clifden Greenway, also currently under development.


While the exact cost of the proposed new bridge has not been revealed, the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund have committed €5.5 million to the project and the National Transport Authority have committed to funding any additional costs over that amount.

The original Clifden Railway Bridge was built in 1884 and carried trains from Galway City to Clifden until it was discontinued in 1935. The steel span of the bridge, and many of the railway tracks, were subsequently sold to a German scrap metal company for just £10, but the stone pillars in the River Corrib remain intact.

These 139-year-old stone pillars, which are protected structures, were assessed by engineers and divers last year and were found to be in excellent condition.

Councillors at last night’s meeting of Galway City Council voted to move forward with a proposal to develop a rippled arch bridge and the local authority is expected to move to the public consultation stage in the weeks ahead.

CEO of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that extensive consultation with local stakeholders would take place before a final proposal for the new bridge go to planning.

“It is important to note that not everyone will be happy with every aspect of this proposal, but we will work through this in the stages ahead,” he said.

As the proposed bridge will span a Special Area of Conservation, a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment will form part of any planning application for the development.