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Bridge enthusiast February 26, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

An unusual article recently in the SBP from Elaine Byrne, where she argued that:

Let’s not prematurely dismiss outright the proposal to build a Northem lreland-to-Scot­land bridge. Boris Johnson has ordered a fea­sibility study into the project, which has the support of the DUP and was also welcomed by the Irish government.
It is easy and lazy to reject ideas because of who came up with them. The divisive and devil-may-care nature of Johnson means some find it hard to take him seriously. And so the bridge has become wrapped up in unionist ambitions to create not just an ideological, but a physical link with Britain. It is also seen as an attempt to bolster ties within a disunited kingdom that is fraying at the edges.

She argues that:

That does not necessarily mean it is a bad idea. Building bridges and tunnels in order to bring regions, trade and people closer together is a normal thing to do.
The cost, engineering difficulties and poor infrastructure links either side of the proposed bridge are all cited as reasons it should not be built. These, by the way, were the very same reasons given for spurning the Channel Tunnel.

I’m not sure that’s entirely comparing like with like.

She argues:

The one-hour flight between Dublin and London is Europe’s busiest air route and a bridge link is likely to be more environmentally friendly than air traffic the Welsh Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport published a report in 2014 which called for “serious consideration” to be given to a 62-mile Britain-Ireland tunnel, running from Holyhead to Dublin

These are not crazy ideas. Rather, it is mad that as an island nation we rely so heavily on ferries and air traffic for our economic development. Bridges are commonplace in­frastructure for much of the world Why not challenge our island mentality?


With every great project there is scepticism Imagination, vision, and ambition brought Ireland the 1920s Shannon hydroelectric power plant and the 1930s social housing schemes TK Whitaker’s 1958 Programme for Economic Expansion abandoned decades of failed ideological policies of fiscal nationalism and protectionism.

Examples she offers?

The breathtaking Oresund Bridge, known to television viewers from the opening credits of the Scandinavian crime series The Bridge, links Sweden to Denmark. Opened in 2000, it is expected to recover its costs by the late 2030s from a toll
Denmark and Germany are in the process of building an 11-mile tunnel between their two countries. Finland and Estonia are seriously considering a 30-mile undersea project called the Talsinki tunnel. Norway has launched a $40 billion transportation project that will include the world’s longest floating bridge.

Perhaps. The odd thing is that it takes very little time to recognise the massive logistical and other challenges facing the construction of links across the Irish Sea. She makes no mention of the depth of the sea – but take Oresund, where the depth is at its greatest 40 metres. By contrast the Beaufort Dyke’s Trench between Scotland and Ireland has a depth of 500m. There’s more information here on the issue, but what is striking is that nothing of quite this sort has been attempted before.

And for an engineering take consider this, linked to some time back here on the site.

As noted then…

…it only requires a 22 mile long bridge spanning depths of 1,000ft – including the munitions filled Beaufort Dyke – and requiring 30 support towers ‘at least 1,400ft high’ the like of which has never been built on the planet.

I’m all for fixed links between these islands – a bridge might well be feasible at some point in the medium term. But if one is going to sing the praises of ‘great projects’ and ‘challenge’ ‘island mentalities’ it makes sense to outline the practical material challenges from the off.

One other point – last year the Taoiseach welcomed the idea but said the Republic wouldn’t pay for it. If this comes close to being realised as a project I think it would be actually well worth the Republic putting some money into it for strategic reasons.


1. Tomboktu - February 26, 2020

A post about bridge, eh, WBS?

What’s he got to say about rubbers and clubs, and 3 no trumps, North is dummy?

Oh. Not that bridge.


tafkaGW - February 26, 2020

No Trump Bid at distraction. Or should that be Fully Trumpian Bid?


2. Joe - February 26, 2020

“It is easy and lazy to reject ideas because of who came up with them.”

It is also easy and lazy to write articles attributing an idea to the latest in a long line of people who’ve ‘come up with it’.

Here are the original bridge builders (and bridge knockers).

Liked by 1 person

3. deiseach - February 26, 2020

Quite apart from the engineering objections, the Oresund bridge connects Copenhagen (metropolitan population: 2,059,453) with Malmo (metropolitan population: 728,293). A bridge connecting those kind of populations in these islands would have to be between Dublin and Liverpool. I suppose you could build it as far as Holyhead then turn the A55 into the M55.


Stan - February 26, 2020

Glasgow city region -1.7m
Belfast Metro Area -0.7m

Not too shabby…granted you need a road from Stranraer worthy of the name.


4. NFB - February 26, 2020

Will this bridge become Johnson’s Wall? An amazing bit of policy-focused infrastructure dressed up as a holy grail, that will never actually be created to the extent that its biggest proponent wants?

Liked by 1 person

5. Daire O'Criodain - February 26, 2020

To cast off its island mentality, Iceland should build a bridge to… Answers on a postcard.

Liked by 1 person

gypsybhoy69 - March 4, 2020

They built an Iceland around the corner from me last year. Leo opened it. He looked very uncomfortable in the photo shoot in his campaign literature. Not exactly an answer on a postcard more an online vignette.


6. An Sionnach Fionn - February 26, 2020

Except the inspiration for the BoJo bridge is not the Oresund Bridge but Putin’s Crimea Bridge. And we all know the reasons and symbolism of that structure.

Liked by 1 person

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