The Rosie Hackett Bridge, the 21st bridge to cross the River Liffey in Dublin city, will open on May 20th, Dublin City Council has said.
When finished, the bridge will carry a single southbound Luas tram track in the centre and two southbound bus and cycle lanes either side, one lane going straight on to Hawkins Street, the other turning right and heading towards O’Connell Bridge.
Work on the bridge began in November 2011 and was due to take 18 months, but the foundations of the bridge turned out to have been built on sand rather than rock. Most of the first year of work was spent securing and stabilising the quay wall and creating an abutment for the bridge. It was October 2012 before building on the river started.
A bridge at this location was proposed by the city council as far back as 1997, but at that stage it was earmarked for a pedestrian only crossing, primarily aimed at drawing punters to the Abbey Theatre, but also part of wider plans for the rejuvenation of the O’Connell Street area.
The council was still talking about a pedestrian bridge when in 2003 it announced the extension of the Liffey boardwalk from O’Connell Bridge to Butt Bridge. It was the advent of plans to connect the Red and Green Luas lines which expanded the council’s ambitions for the bridge.
In 2005, five proposed routes for the cross-city Luas line were announced, two of which required a bridge at Marlborough Street. The following year the Railway Procurement Agency announced its preferred route for the line, confirming the need for the bridge. It was not until mid-2008, however, when the council announced that a public transport bridge was to be constructed.
The city council last September voted to call the new bridge over the Liffey at Marlborough Street after Rosie Hackett, a trade unionist who co-founded the Irish Women Workers’ Union in 1911.