Midleton Town Council closed the routes to and from the footbridge at the Pontoon in Midleton due to safety concerns last Tuesday, 28 February.
The footbridge, which is private property, had barriers with signage placed at its four main entrances and exits by Midleton Town Council which acted at the behest of the local Gardaí. The footbridge and Pontoon area are closed indefinitely until the necessary works are complete.
“We had to close the bridge on Tuesday afternoon due to safety concerns,” said Billy Buckley of Midleton Town Council. “The Gardaí asked us to block off the area so we put up barriers at all four entrances. A child could very easily fall through the gaps in the railings. There is are high tides forecast for the next few days and Spring tides were due anyway. It’s an accident or a drowning waiting to happen.”
The area in question is private property and leads from the junction of Coolbawn Court and the Bailick Road to Riversfield Estate in Midleton, and stretches to Dwyer’s Road. The industrial park was previously home to Midleton Worsted Mills.
Last week local residents contacted the East Cork Journal to voice their concerns regarding the safety of the footbridge. Last week the parapet along one side of the footbridge’s older, red half was noticeably warped with quite a few of its railings being disconnected from the deck of the footbridge or missing entirely. One local resident had called the railings on red half of the footbridge “dodgy” and said they required “attention urgently”.
Mr Buckley said the footbridge “is now 100% worse” than when the pictures were taken for last week’s issue of the East Cork Journal. The warped side has become more distorted with a section of the parapet having come detached from the deck of the footbridge.
“If you lean on the railing now it would nearly be enough,” said Mr Buckley. “The weight of it would drag you in with it. If a small child did that there would be no hope.”