The temporary bridge that was put in place after the Millennium Bridge was removed due to health and safety concerns.

Trim cllrs ponder new Millennium Bridge designs

A report into the replacement of the doomed Millennium Bridge over the River Boyne in Trim has put forward four design options.

Local councillors received a report outlining details of the four options at the September meeting of Trim Municipal District Council on Friday.

While Meath County Council has recommended its preferred option as a steel warren truss bridge, councillors deferred making a decision until they could see images of two of the design options.

Cllr Joe Fox was keen to proceed with the recommended option to avoid any delays but Cllr Trevor Golden appeared to favour the steel box girder and deck option, which he felt would have more character and asked to see a render of it.

Cathaoirleach Noel French said they would like to have a consensus and the matter was deferred until the October meeting with the Council to send images of the two options before councillors make a final decision next month.

The wooden Millennium Bridge was found to have major structural problems and was closed to the public in June of last amid health and safety concerns. It was later dismantled and a bailey bridge was erected as a temporary measure to link Trim Castle and the town with the Porchfields until the replacement bridge is in place.

The Millennium Bridge lasted just 22 years before its demise and councillors were told that the design brief for the new bridge was one to last 120 years. It will have a minimum width of 3m and to allow space for pedstrians and also a cycleway and the existing concrete abutments are to be utilised.

Four options were put forward with a steel warren truss bridge which would be painted grey, being the one favoured by the Council. This option was slim in appearance with an overall depth of 1.8m. It also had a higher clearance of the water.

The other option still in the running is a steel box girder design with a deck. Both these options use the existing abutments and would be fabricated off site and lifted into position by a crane. The warren truss bridge would need need more maintenance over time as it would need to be painted while the box girder design forms a rust like patina that adds to the character of the bridge and does not require maintenance. However at 2.9m in depth, the report stated this could be considered a disadvantage as it may restrict views.

The recommended option comes in an estimated cost of €546,000, while the box girder design comes in at €585,000.

The two options which were disregarded by councillors included a steel bowstring arched truss bridge (estimated at €575,000) and a concrete beam and slab which was the cheapest option at €400,000 but wasn't considered appropriate at the site and could have an environmental impact as it would be fabricated on site which involves the pouring of concrete.

Cllr Joe Fox commented that it was "all about aesthetics" and option one was "the only show in town". He said there are a lot of processes to go through and the "sooner they made the decision" and get it moving the better. Cllr Aisling Dempsey said she would like to see a render of both options if possible but had no problem going with the recommended option.

Cllr Trevor Golden said he would like to see a render of both bridges to see what they would look like in position. He seemed more in favour of the steel box girder option and felt it was more classic looking. He said the bridge would be part of the castle and should complement it. Cllr Ronan Moore while he would like to reflect on it, he was happy to support the first option pointing out that a lot of time and effort had gone into chosing the preferred one.

Cllr French said the bridge would be there for the next 100 years and while he would like to move forward as soon as possible, it was important to get it right and if anyone had any reservations they should be dealt with first.