Pan’s Rock footbridge to be repaired

Pan's Rock footbridge. INBM37-15 S
Pan's Rock footbridge. INBM37-15 S

Repair work is to be carried out on the iconic Pan’s Rock footbridge in Ballycastle.

Members of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Environmental Services Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the best way to repair the bridge.

The Pan’s Rock is a rock formation at the eastern end of Ballycastle beach, the remains of an Iron Salt pan. The seven span footbridge facilitates access onto the rock as it becomes an island at high tide.

Director of Environmental Services, Aidan McPeak told members: “As part of the legacy Moyle District Council’s Capital Works programme, a condition survey report was commissioned to ascertain the current condition of the footbridge.

“During the time of this condition survey, the strong winds and tide in December 2014 completely washed away the beachside access steps and foundation. This area of failure has been cordoned off to prevent access until the completion of the report.”

The survey and report came up with three options: Option 1 - carry out minimum repairs. Short term solution approximately ten years - £47,500. Option 2 - repair concrete support columns and replace timber deck. Support 20 years. Deck 10 years - £242,800.

Option 3 - replace bridge. 30 year life span. £400,000. Option 4 - remove bridge and make good existing surfaces. £115,000.

Option 1 was recommended to members.

Cllr Kieran Mulholland proposed option 1 saying it was an iconic bridge which had lain in disrepair for too long. Cllr Sam Cole seconded the proposal saying that £47,500 was “great value” for ten years guarantee but asked, given that the damage had been caused by winds and high tide, was there not a chance of reoccurence.

Cllr George Duddy said he had no difficulty with option 1 but asked if it was not just a “sticking plaster” solution given what the former Coleraine Council had experienced at the East Strand in Portrush where a new promenade project was repeatedly battered by severe weather.

It was then agreed to proceed with option 1 but with Mr McPeak looking at additional options to ensure that the lifespan of the work carried out is longer.