Carrick on Shannon: BoardWalk & Bridge
This Urban Design / Green Infrastructure based project was carried out in conjunction with The Dock Arts Centre and Leitrim Co. Council .
The town of Carrick on Shannon is set to benefit form a new bridge crossing the riverapprox 1km north of the town as part of a planned by-pass. This project sets out to explore the potential that this new bridge has to offer the town and was carried out in tandem with a number of other architects and artists culminating in a public exhibition of the proposals in The Dock Arts Centre .
Carrick on Shannonlike so many towns and villagesin Ireland until recently has had very limited access to theriver for the people of the town. The experience of the river ( that is the town’s ‘reason d’être’ ) in and around Carrick is mostly limited to those who arrive by boat .A new river bridge on the main route to the North West is very significant as the existing crossing has been in use since the fifteenth century. It will bring people to a part of the landscape that was previously mostly inaccessible.
The project aims:
ANEW DESTINATION is created that will enhance the experience for those who travel by water and by land. The crossing is in an ancient undulating landscape of drumlins deposited during the last ice age which ended c12,000 years ago. The river meanders through these drumlin swarms, forming multiple channels and wetlands all along its flood plane.
There will be facilities for cars and boats, along with a designated safe swimming area up stream and a playground.
A place to cross, park and play, to swim, stop and most of all observe and experience.
THE NEW BRIDGE is designed to reflect the mystical nature of this ancient setting. The towers are hollow with an internal staircase providing access to the observatory platform at the top where the surrounding landscape and meandering path of the river can be seen .The windows along rising stairs offer framed views of selected parts of the landscape.
A NEW BOARD WALK will be built along the river bank which will travel1 km from the centre of town to the new bridge providing a unique off-road walking route within the marsh and wetland areas. This boardwalk will extend beyond the bridge ending at a look out point over the lake.
It is set into the rivers edge over the reeds and flood plainwith stopping and seating areas provided at selected points. Here one can experience the river, its flooding patterns, ecology and wildlife. Access to this part of the river could previously only been experienced by boat.
This new walk from Carrick town centre to the new bridge site will take approx 30 minutes. Itwillreplacea similar board walk in the river bank on the other side of townthat was in very poor condition and removed in 2007. It will bring a positive ecological approach to the forefront of out felt experiences . It is ‘green infrastructure’ that will become an integral and enriching part of daily life for the people of Carrick and visitors to the area .