Dublin's €60 million Samuel Beckett Bridge, designed by internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, opened to traffic this morning.
The 120-metre long, 48-metre high bridge spans the river Liffey from Sir John Rogerson's Quay near Macken Street on the south side to Guild Street at the site of the new National Convention Centre on the north side.
It was one of two bridges commissioned from Calatrava by Dublin City Council 10 years ago. The other, the James Joyce Bridge, opened at Blackhall Place near Heuston Station on Bloomsday, June 16th, 2003.
The new bridge was projected in 1998 to cost £10 million, but the costs ultimately rose to almost €60 million.
Designed to represent a harp on its side the cable-stayed bridge was made in the Netherlands and arrived in Dublin last May.
It had a difficult introduction to the city, with two failed attempts to put it in place on the river due to high winds and generally poor weather.
However, it opened slightly ahead of schedule, having been due to open in early 2010.
The bridge will be capable of rotating through an angle of 90 degrees to facilitate maritime traffic.
It has four traffic lanes, cycle tracks and footpaths and will be capable of accommodating a Luas track.
Motorists have been advised that there is no right-turn from the bridge on either side of the river and there is no left-turn from North Wall Quay onto the north side of the bridge.
It was opened to pedestrians yesterday by Lord Mayor of Dublin Emer Costello.
Relatives of Samuel Beckett attended the event as did actor Barry McGovern, known internationally for his Beckett performances, and poet Seamus Heaney.