Peace Bridge, Londonderry


Construction scheme (completed)
Contractor: Graham Construction; Steel by Rowecord; planning by AECOM
To construct a combined foot and cycle bridge across the River Foyle, in Derry, from Foyle Embankment (near the Guildhall) to the Ebrington Barracks site on the Waterside.
Total Length
Total bridge structure length approx 312 metres (1024 feet)
of which section over river is approx 235 metres (771 feet)

Oct 2008 - Department for Social Development gives go-ahead to project
8 Apr 2009 - Wilkinson Eyre Architects win competition held by Ilex to design the bridge

25 Aug 2009 - Planning application submitted
25 Nov 2009 - Planning permission granted

Jan 2010 - Construction begins
25 Jun 2011 - Bridge officially opened

14.7m (note: official estimates vary)
Jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund's Peace III Programme, Department for Social Development, Department of the Environment plus some local funding.
Photos / Map
See below.
See Also

General area map - Google Maps

Derry City is divided by the River Foyle which has always been a significant barrier in the city. There are two other bridges: Craigavon Bridge, which was completed in 1933 replacing an earlier bridge; and Foyle Bridge which was completed in 1984 and forms part of the city's partial ring road. The Peace Bridge was designed partly to improve connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists between the two sections of the city (Waterside and Cityside) by providing a third bridge between the two existing bridges. But in addition, the bridge was also designed to have a symbolic role since the Waterside and Cityside are traditionally unionist and nationalist areas, respectively. This is reflected in its name. The architect describes the bridge as a "structural handshake".

The bridge itself is a suspension bridge with cables supported by two main pylons 36 metres high. Rather than passing straight across the river, the bridge has an unusual S-shape giving it a more meandering feeling. It is primarily supported by the two main pylons which are sited in the river itself and which required 30 steel piles each of which was 24 metres long and driven 10-11 metres into the bed of the river. The pylons are at an angle to the vertical in order to support the curved bridge. There are then two additional conventional bridge spans at the eastern end to allow the bridge structure to cross the railway line. The total lengths of the various spans are, from west to east: 63.4m, 96.2m, 63.4m, 37m and 37m. The bridge comprises approximately 1000 tonnes of steel. The deck varies in width from 3.5m to 4.5m and accommodates two "lanes" - one for pedestrians and one for cycles. The construction of the bridge was delayed by the unusually harsh winter of 2010-11 when there was snow/ice on the ground for approximately three weeks, making work almost impossible.

Why is this bridge on the Northern Ireland Roads Site? I don't normally list footbridges on this web site. I have decided to include the Peace Bridge because (a) it is such a high-profile and particularly iconic structure and (b) because of its significant scale and cost.


Peace Bridge Derry

The Peace Bridge viewed looking west from the Waterside towards the Cityside on 30 June 2011, five days after opening. You can see the two central pylons and the suspension cables that support the deck. Note the iconic S-shape. [Wesley Johnston]

Peace Bridge
Peace Bridge viewed looking east from the Cityside towards the Ebrington Barracks site on the Waterside on 30 June 2011, five days after opening. Note the two additional piers beyond the second pylon - these support the two extra spans that take the bridge over the railway line which runs along the east bank of the river. [Wesley Johnston]