September launch for 'Joe Dolan Memorial Bridge'

Story by Paul Hughes

Wednesday, 28th July, 2010 6:00pm

Until now it was just another stretch of road, but from the autumn, the new bridge which will complete the Mullingar Orbital Road will be more than just, ahem, 'Tar and Cement'.

Making its debut in September, the Clonmore Link Bridge in west Mullingar will be known as none other than the 'Joe Dolan Memorial Bridge', in honour of the late, great Mullingar entertainer.

The name for the bridge - which will rank among some of the largest bridges in the country - was announced at Monday's meeting of Westmeath County Council by chairman, Mick Dollard.

Both Cllr. Dollard and the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD, will officially open the structure on Monday, September 6, it has also been confirmed.

Describing the news as "a fitting tribute to Joe Dolan", Cllr. Dollard said that the Dolan family had been informed of plans to name the bridge after the late singer from an early stage.

A plaque of some form is likely to be affixed to the bridge, to inform motorists of the tribute to Mr. Dolan.

The entire Clonmore scheme is 780 metres long and consists of a 2 lane road carriageway with footpaths and cycle paths along each side.

It consists of a 540m long concrete bridge. The bridge will have 20 spans and the necessary works includes piling, abutment, pier and superstructure construction, together with 240m approach embankments.

The structure has been funded by €19 million in monies from Central Government.

It is part of the Clonmore Link Road, which links Clonmore Business Park to the Lynn Roundabout on Mullingar's Tullamore Road.

The naming of the bridge is the second tribute which Westmeath County Council has extended to Mr. Dolan, following the bronze statue which was erected in his memory on Market Square.

At Monday's meeting, Cllr. Denis Leonard (Labour) said that September 6 should be used as a day to celebrate Joe Dolan.

"To enhance it we should contact all the tourist groups and invite them to come on September 6. We should make it a big day in Mullingar," he said.

Cllr. Tom Allen (Fianna Fáil) also added his support to the naming of the bridge and said that the family were very happy with the council's decision.

Councillors agreed that it was a positive thing to reflect Joe Dolan's love for his native town through initiatives such as the statue in the town and the bridge.

The announcement has also been welcomed by Fianna Fáil senator Donie Cassidy, who described the decision as "a wonderful tribute" to his late friend.

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