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Plans afoot to construct new bridges in Dublin alongside iconic Royal Canal structures

The new bridges, one for walkers and one for cyclists, will run adjacent to the existing steel rolling Scherzer bridge on Spencer Dock.

3 The Scherzer bridge across the mouth of the Royal Canal on Spencer Dock Source: Dublin City Council

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has lodged a planning application for a pair of new bridges spanning the Royal Canal parallel to a Dublin landmark.

The application for the bridges, one for bicycles and the other for pedestrians, was recently lodged by the council with its own planning department.

The plan is to construct the two new crossways parallel to the existing steel Scherzer rolling bridge at the mouth of the canal on North Wall Quay, to ensure “safe and efficient crossing for pedestrians and cyclists”.

6 The proposed bridge location Source: Google Maps

There are two Scherzer bridge locations on the northside quays – one at George’s Dock, and the other at the mouth of the canal on Spencer Dock next to the Convention Centre.

Both are protected structures.

7 The approach to the Spencer Dock bridge Source: Google Maps

Per the application, two steel bridges – both 12 metres in length – will be built at the Liffey side of the existing structures, with the pedestrian path located closest to the river.

The two bridges will be constructed off-site and installed by crane.

The cycle bridge will ‘integrate with the current cycle arrangement’, as per the application.

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4 Spencer Dock Scherzer bridge in its lifted state in times past - the electric motors to operate the bridge have since been removed Source: Blackwood Associates Architects

At present there are no dedicated, separate cycle lanes across the bridge independent from the main roadway, with both cyclists and pedestrians sharing a small footbridge.

Approval for the project is pending, with no projected costings yet available.

The Scherzer bridge at Spencer Dock was first constructed in 1912 to allow for business traffic from the canal to pass in and out of the dock.

Named for William Scherzer, who first patented the rolling design, the structure greatly reduced the wait time for vessels hoping to enter the Liffey from 23 minutes to just four (the previous structure in place was a double-sided drawbridge, manually operated).

The electric motors which once operated the bridge have since been removed.

The second Scherzer bridge at George’s Dock followed 20 years later in 1932.

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