Excitement as new Salmon Weir bridge officially opens

galway daily news new salmon weir pedestrian bridge in galway city
Local children enjoying the occasion. Among those at the opening were Fergus Browne (3 and a half), Oisin (7), Laoise (4) and Eanna Curran (10). Photo: xposure

There were jubilant scenes in Galway city today as the iconic new Salmon Weir Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge was officially opened by Mayor of Galway Clodagh Higgins and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

The new bridge, the first to span the Corrib in over 30 years, will serve as a focal point for locals and tourists to safely cross the river on foot or by bike.

It is in the shape of a salmon to reflect the heritage of fishing in the area and is approximately 85 metres in length.

Michael Gilligan from Abbeyknockmoy inspected the craftsmanship of the bridge. Photo: xposure
Louise Browne, 2 and half years old, from Galway City was the first to walk bare foot across the bridge. Photo: xposure

The new pedestrian bridge is also lightweight and robust, and offers uninterrupted views of Galway Cathedral, the Convent of Mercy, the existing Salmon Weir Bridge and the watercourses below.

It is also fully accessible for people with impaired mobility, with ramps on either side.

galway daily news salmon weir bridge opens in galway
Mercy primary pupil who are the school Council got to be among the first to traverse the bridge. Photo: xposure

Speaking about the opening, Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, said that the opening of the new pedestrian and cycle bridge is a ‘milestone’ in the delivery of the Galway Transport Strategy, an important link across the Corrib, and a fantastic new architectural and urban amenity space for the people of Galway.

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Tom Langan and his Guide Dog Lady were among the first to cross the bridge a much safer option than the old Salmon Weir bridge. Photo: xposure

“More than 10,000 pedestrians cross the existing bridge on foot every day, interacting with buses, cars, trucks, and other vehicles,” said Mr McGrath.

“The new bridge offers a seamless alternative, removed from vehicles, with a spectacular view as well as a space to dwell and take in the sounds and atmosphere of the city.”

“I wish to congratulate the staff and contractors who delivered this impressive new bridge, which will be crossed by the people of Galway for generations to come.

“Galway City Council is grateful for the support of the National Transport Authority, and the European Commission, through European Regional Development Funding, facilitated by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, for this project.”

Minister Eamonn Ryan said that he was delighted to be at the opening of this “quite historic and beautiful new bridge in the shape of a salmon across the majestic Corrib River, the fastest flowing city river in Europe.”

“The new bridge puts Galway alongside of some of the best-known cities in the world that are moving to make their centres better for people and nature by prioritising infrastructure that makes it easier for people to walk, cycle or just enjoy the sights and sounds of their surroundings,” he said.

“The bridge will be a huge asset to the city, linking West with East, the University with the bustling streets of the city, allowing locals, tourists and students to move safely without the risk of traffic.”

galway daily news salmon weir pedestrian bridge galway city
Mayor of the City of Galway, Councillor Clodagh Higgins, Minister Hildegarde Naughton (left) and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan T.D., along with Senator Sean Kyne. Photo: xposure

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, said: “The NTA is delighted to have supported the construction of the new Salmon Weir Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge through its Active Travel Programme.

“Along with being a major focal point for the people of Galway, the new bridge will enhance the travel experience of people who regularly walk, wheel or cycle in the city and, we hope, it will encourage more people to choose active travel for their everyday journeys.”    

Brendan Mooney, Acting Assistant Director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, added: “The Northern and Western Regional Assembly, through our role as Managing Authority for the ERDF Operational Programme, are delighted to be part of this transformative project in the heart of Galway.

“The bridge provides a much-needed pedestrian and cycle link, and its beautiful design will be a legacy that we in the Assembly and the EU Commission will be very proud of.”