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Alan Dunlop reveals Celtic crossing concept image


The first sketch has been revealed of Alan Dunlop’s much-discussed concept for a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland

The principal of Alan Dunlop Architects outlined his plans at a conference in Aberdeen yesterday (5 September).

Earlier this year Dunlop told The National newspaper that a crossing between the two countries could be created for about £12 billion.

Dunlop, who is professor of architecture at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University, will compare the Scotland-Ireland project to a proposed road connecting fjord-lined coastal towns in Norway in a speech at the Urbanism at Borders Conference.

‘We have the engineering and architectural talent and the capability to build this project,’ he told delegates. ‘The Norwegian Coastal Highway is a pioneering and remarkable infrastructure project and a sign of confidence for a forward-looking innovative country. Scotland and Ireland surely can achieve the same.’

Dunlop first mooted the link between Scotland and Ireland after reports that foreign secretary Boris Johnson had proposed a bridge from England to France.

Dunlop said in January: ‘To propose a bridge between Scotland and Ireland would be a big step in creating a Celtic Powerhouse and give politicians the opportunity to invest in the infrastructure of the true North.’

He said a crossing from Mull of Kintyre to Torr Head would cost about £12 billion, but that a bridge between Portpatrick and Bangor or Larne would have more benefits, despite costing more. 


Readers' comments (12)

  • A fine image, though whether a box girder rather than open lattice deck structure might be preferable both aesthetically and maintenance-wise is surely worth considering.
    The image is presumably of the Portpatrick route, but in the event of the other route being investigated then the cost of building the road across or through the looming bulk of the Mull of Kintyre would surely negate any saving in the construction of the bridge itself.

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  • As you will know Robert, the current travel time from Campbeltown to Glasgow is a minimum of five hours , on a good day, often six. If the Rest and be Thankful is closed, you can add another 70 to 100 miles to the journey. However, if you extend the current A 83 and introduce smaller bridge crossings, short road extensions and tunnel connections, ( like an abridged Norwegian Coastal Highway, which involves an investment of £30bn in the country's infrastructure, crossing 20 fjords, some 600 metres deep, for 680 miles, in a country with a comparable population to Scotland) at Tarbert to Portvadie, then Tighnabruaich and Rhubodach to Colintraive onto Invercholain, then Dunoon across to the A78 then to central belt, journey time will be cut by a minimum of three hours and bypass the Rest and be Thankful.

    The keynote address ended by calling on the UK, Scottish and Irish Governments to commission a serious feasibility study on both routes, that's where we are at present.

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  • You guys know your stuff and the locations, distances, geology involved. The image looks like one lifted from any of the long crossings of the last 100 years. How about something more radical?

    Suspended tubes? Maglev? Tunnels? 250 mph? 500 mph? It will join 2 of the great engineering countries of the world, surrounded by Britain, the Commonwealth and Europe. For capital as well as skilled labour.

    We designed and then built the Channel Tunnel in 6 years. Then the government and British Rail took forever to link it to London, undermining it’s governance and profitability. Are the Scottish and Irish governments and the rail networks ready this time?

    Unfortunately Alistair Morton is no longer with us, but the rest of the team are in touch, and can hand on the torch with advice. Paul Finch has my contact details, and I will do the rest. We’ll talk about honouraria later?!

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  • Phil Parker

    This is nothing new- there’s been numerous proposals over the years for such a link but (a) it doesn’t stack up commercially (b) massive physical obstacles to overcome eg Beaufort’s Dyke, a 33 mile sea trench that’s 225m deep and runs across the Irish Sea (c) if (a) was ignored and (c) miraculously overcome, it would be closed for most of the year due to adverse weather.

    Nice sketch, though.

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  • Phil Parker

    Looks like Hungerford Bridge over the River Thames, to me. One of my least favourite bridges.

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  • (a) Drat
    (b) I guess that's it all f~cked then
    (c) Cripes

    Thanks, I'm particularly pleased with the waves,

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  • Definitely a project that would be better left for the Chinese to design and build.

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  • Despite their early setbacks, the variety hopefuls played the Glasgow Empire, with the bright and peppy act. Starting with a flourish as Phil dashed on-stage playing his clarinet. After a couple of minutes Ian's face peeked through the centre curtains with his trademark goofy leer. But on that fateful Fifties Friday, a shout from the audience famously reflected Glasgow's thoughts; "Christ - there's two of them!"

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  • Alan's described route through Argyll and Bute for the Mull of Kintyre option would have a revolutionary effect on travel times and doubtless the local economy (particularly on Bute), but unfortunately I see trouble with the dismal UK Treasury, who (in contrast to their Norwegian counterparts) still don't seem to have got their heads properly around the concept of the long term value to be gained from investment in solid infrastructure.
    But at least there'd be no need to go as far as the Norwegian's taste for undersea tunnels so deep that your ears pop - unless there's the possibility that a tunnel to Ireland would be more economical (maybe even more practical?) than a bridge.
    And in that case the Kintyre route would be preferable, well to the north of the dratted Beaufort Dyke and its million plus tons of dumped and decaying munitions

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  • Phil Parker

    Renzo Piano and Alan should do a joint bridge, or perhaps meet in the middle?

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