Origin and Early Development

The need to improve north-south pedestrian and cyclist connectivity was first identified in Cork City’s Development Plan as far back as 2004. Since then, the delivery of the bridge has been an infrastructure objective of Cork City Council to improve the pedestrian/cyclist linkage between the City Centre, MacCurtin Street, Kent Railway Station and the surrounding areas, as recommended by the

 Cork City Development Plan




Consultant Procurement

In October 2016, Cork City Council sought expressions of interest from suitably qualified Consultants via eTenders Open Tender process calling for a new bridge that would traverse the North Channel of the River Lee between the existing Brian Boru Bridge and St. Patrick’s Bridge in Cork City Centre. 

The brief stated that the purpose of the proposed structure is to improve pedestrian and cycle connectivity between St. Patrick’s Quay and Merchant’s Quay, thereby improving the links between the City Centre, MacCurtin Street, Kent Station and the surrounding areas. The design for the bridge was also to include crossing facilities to the north and south of the proposed bridge and related public realm treatments.

Over 100 expressions of interests were received, from these, a total of 10 valid tenders were submitted. Following a tender assessment in accordance with the criteria set out in the published documents, Arup Consulting Engineers was deemed the most economically advantageous and were appointed the Main Consultant in December 2016.

Contractor Procurement

An eTenders OJEC Notice was issued in August 2017 seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified Contractors for the construction of the Harley’s Street Pedestrian & Cycle Bridge. A Suitability Assessment Questionnaire was issued to interested parties and five contractors were assessed and deemed suitably qualified. These contractors were invited to continue in the tender process and of these; four returned a full set of tender documents. Following a detailed assessment of the submitted tender documents, L&M Keating Construction Limited were appointed in April 2018 as Main Contractors.


Bridge Specifications

Bridge Design Specifications

The proposed bridge was required to be a low level structure with a single span of approximately 66 metres. The general parameters and requirements for the bridge were as follows:

  • Safe and attractive pedestrian and cycle passage across the North Channel of the River Lee through a common pedestrian/cyclist area
  • Minimum clear parapet to parapet width of 4.5 metres
  • An elegant and attractive solution that is appropriate for and sympathetic to its environment and topographical setting
  • Cost effective design
  • Allowance for floodwater levels in accordance with the Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme, with a minimum quay wall opening level of +3.5m AOD or alternatively a suitable flood defence proposal must be provided.
  • Protection bollards or similar to restrict access to pedestrian and cyclists only.
  • Wind protection
  • Aesthetically pleasing night time illumination
  • High quality detailing and execution
  • Design and construction methods that minimise social and environmental impacts
  • Minimised impacts on river view
  • Maintain the current navigation passage along the river
  • Embrace current development and practice in sustainable development
  • Provide for a sustainable and cost effective solution that minimised future maintenance

Bridge Architectural Specifications

A ‘Conceptual Architectural Design’ criterion was set as part of the quality component of the tender assessment. The candidates were requested to:“...prepare a conceptual architectural design proposal demonstrating a creative, innovative, high quality aesthetic design combined with a clear structural design methodology. The design must be low level, sympathetic to the surrounding city centre environment and demonstrate a clear understanding of the project brief. The concept design must present a plan view, and longitudinal view. The candidate may also present a three dimension image."

Bridge Design Competition

The winning design, prepared by WilkinsonEyre Architects as part of the Arup Consulting Engineering multi-disciplinary design team is illustrated below: 



The bridge designs that finished in runner up positions are: