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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 17:17 GMT
Dublin bridge reopens after 'make-over'
Ha'penny Bridge
The new look Ha'penny Bridge across Dublin's River Liffey
One of Ireland's most famous bridges has re-opened to the public after a nine month make over.

The Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin was re-opened to pedestrians on Friday by the city's Lord Mayor Michael Mulcahy.

Strengthening work began on the structure in March and nine months on, the famous link over the River Liffey has been restored.

The footbridge, which was first opened in 1816, got its name because of the halfpenny toll people had to pay to cross it.


Harland and Wolff's responsibility was to dismantle the old structure and replace the structure as it was built 200 years ago

Lawrence Cobain

The Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff played a key role in restoring the bridge which is over 200 years old.

Under the North South inter-trade agreement which was set up as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the east Belfast firm won the contract to do much of the work.

A team of 20 workers from the shipyard carried out specialist steel and metal work on the prestigious project.

Lawrence Cobain, project manager of Harland and Wolff said the operation had been extensive.

"Harland and Wolff's responsibility was to dismantle the old structure and replace the structure as it was built 200 years ago," he said.

Christmas rush

"It involved a new deck and 90% replacement of the finials and the hand rail sections."

Harland and Wolff is continuing work in the city with work due on another bridge across the Liffey.

According to Mr Cobain, the workers will not complain about an extended stay in Dublin.

"It's going to be a trouble getting back to Belfast again," he said.

"They had a great time down here and they worked really well with the guys who were on site.

"Everyone enjoyed their job."

With last minute Christmas shopping likely to increase traffic on the bridge from the daily 300,000 people, the new look landmark will certainly be tested over the next few days.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Mary Campbell reports from Dublin:
"The footbridge got its name because of the halfpenny toll people had to pay to cross it"
See also:

29 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Unions meet minister for shipyard talks
06 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Shipyard calls in unions to discuss jobs
12 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
Shipyard wipes off debts
12 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Shipyard wins Dublin bridge order
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