The final pieces of the walkway track on Londonderry’s £13 million Peace Bridge were laid yesterday, ending 10 days which have transformed the city’s riverscape.
The 1057-tonne Forth Atlas barge has ferried massive pieces of the bridge deck from Lisahally docks to the site all this week.
The new foot and cycle bridge will link Derry’s city centre with the massive parade ground plaza at Ebrington. The former Army barracks in the Waterside is earmarked for major redevelopment ahead of Derry’s year of being UK City of Culture in 2013.
Friday saw the laying of the second of two pieces of the central, S-shaped track which form a symbolic “handshake” between the city’s east and west banks.
Deck eight was erected on Saturday morning, with the final two pieces to be loaded onto the Forth Atlas yesterday.
Brenda Fraser, director of local urban regeneration body Ilex, said: “The first bit of the structural handshake is now in place and the other piece will now be placed.
“Now once all the deck section is in place, work will begin to put the cables in there. And there is still temporary support underneath it. Then they will be tensioning it to make sure it is stable. Then there will be the lighting and the surfacing.
“At the moment we are looking at an opening date of April 11. It is certainly cracking on well.”
Ms Fraser said the construction developments this week had drawn a mass of people down along the quayside to witness history in the making.
“There have been a lot of people down looking at it,” she said.
“Apparently when it started last weekend there was a huge crowd on the towpath and every day there is a huge crowd.”
For the past six months people have been able to follow the initial construction phase online.
But this weekend will mark the first time people will be able to get a full picture of how the structure actually looks.