A bridge which would link Narrow Water in Co Down with Cornamucklagh in Co Louth is to include walking and cycling facilities, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has said.
The Narrow Water Bridge project has faced a series of delays and shortfalls in funding over the years, with the department confirming earlier this summer that work is expected to begin in 2023.
The Irish government has also committed €3m (£2.55m) to progress work on the scheme.
On a visit to the site on Friday, Ms Mallon and Irish minister Darragh O’Brien TD met with those in the local area campaigning for the project, as the SDLP MLA confirmed the bridge is also to include complementary walking and cycling infrastructure.
The 280m cable-stayed bridge will feature lanes for car and cycle traffic and will be anchored by two towers at either end.
Ms Mallon said the proposal to incorporate walking and cycling facilities is part of a move to “encourage people to move to more sustainable forms of travel”.
“Progressing this iconic project has been a long-term aim for everyone in this area. We were delighted that SDLP Minister Mallon visited this area on Friday to engage with the Narrow Water Bridge Community Network and tell them in-person her exciting plans for the development of the Narrow Water bridge,” she said.
“I know they appreciated the meeting and she received a very warm welcome.”
She added: “This bridge will be transformative to this area opening up greater cross-border co-operation on a number of key issues, allowing people to travel seamlessly to work and socialise and provide a much-needed boost to businesses in both communities.
“It will also draw in more tourists who can visit both locations easily on their journey.”
The area is noted for one of the bloodiest days in the Troubles, when the Narrow Water IRA ambush claimed the lives of 18 soldiers.
Just hours earlier the IRA had also taken the life of Lord Louis Mountbatten off the coast of Mullaghmore in Co Sligo.