A CARLOW company has built the first bridge over the River Corrib in Galway city in 30 years.
Thompson Project Management on the Athy Road at New Acre had worked for four months on the 60-metre pedestrian bridge, which was transported to Galway before Christmas. The spine of the bridge was transported in two 30-metre sections along with four other sections, while it took one of the biggest cranes in the country to load it.
The company is currently finishing up the bridge’s handrails and it is set to be open in the coming months.
“That’s all we do, really – bridges and gantries. That’s our main business,” said Gwynne Thomas of Thompson’s. “We are very, very busy at the moment; we are looking for people all the time.”
Thompson’s recently built a bridge across the River Lee in Cork city, while its next project is a 700-tonne bridge across the River Shannon at Killaloe, Co Clare.
Mr Thomas said it was challenging to get skilled staff, with the lack of accommodation in Carlow the single biggest issue.
“Where does someone, say, coming in from a foreign country get to live in Co Carlow?” he asked. “It’s the same across the country.”
Thompson’s was also successful recently in gaining planning permission for a stainless-steel workshop at its Athy Road base after a planning appeal by a local couple was unsuccessful. The workshop had been badly needed when planning had been sought, but it took three years for An Bord Pleanála to make a decision. The workshop had initially been planned to build the handrails for the Corrib project.
“We got planning after six years, I’d say!” said a rueful Mr Thomas. “We had to do something different. It was taking too long. By the time planning came through, we had the project finished. We will use it (the planning permission). We will put it up, but it takes so long to get planning for anything. An Bord Pleanála is a joke.”