By Donal McMahon
International interest in the €60 Narrow Water bridge project has attracted the expert eyes of a Finnish delegation to Warrenpoint next week.
The tender to build the bridge from Co Down into the Irish Republic at Omeath, Co Louth has gone live this week.
The innovative designs for the 280m cable bridge will see an opening to allow for ships to sail up towards Victoria Lock and into Newry Canal, the oldest man made waterway in the British Isles.
The enterprise, regeneration and tourism committee of the council has agreed to host 16 expert “architects and engineers” from Finland to visit the planned site headed by Johannes Moisio of the Association of European Border Regions.
Crotlieve councillor, Mickey Ruane (SF) said: “This will be a good opportunity for the council to highlight the Narrow Water bridge project on an international level.
“We had a request from the East Border Region cross border group to facilitate a meeting with the Finnish group, which we were happy to do.
“To gain such attention from a group of experts from Finland is great for the Narrow Water bridge project and the wider area of Newry, Mourne and Down.”
The bridge on completion, is expected to help expand the local economy with the nearby Warrenpoint harbour as well as increasing tourism links within the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley peninsula.
A council officer highlighting the Finnish request, said: “The purpose of the visit is for the delegation to learn from other countries and regions, how they manage different technical services, how things work with their neighbours (joint services), how they get their resources and funding, skilled labour, about working environment etc.”
The Finnish delegation will be in the county areas of the Narrow Water bridge site from September 22 to 24.