The Michael Hughes Bridge
The first major infrastructural project to be started in Sligo Town for decades, was the Michael Hughes Bridge, (co-ordinates 54.2755 -8.4780) which was opened to the motoring public on Friday December 9th 1988.
Often referred to locally as "The New Bridge", construction of this £2 million (€2.55 million) four lane bridge over the Garavogue River estuary was started in July 1987, with the aim of relieving Sligo Town of the chaotic traffic congestion which had been crippling the town's streets for several decades.
The project started taking shape after a study of the traffic in Sligo Town was carried out in 1969 and updated in 1975 by consultants DeLaw, Chadwick & O'h Eocha.
The location of the Michael Hughes Bridge is from the embankment at Markievicz Road, adjacent to the location of the old Municipal Swimming Pool, which has itself been demolished in recent years to make way for a small recreation area, to the old Harbour Office on Custom House Quay.
The Queens Store's, the original bond houses of the Customs and Excise Service, and in use as such for storing (Spirits) Whiskey, Brandy etc until the 1960's, was demolished to make way for a new section of road leading from the bridge, as far as Union Street, beside where TD Howley's public house stands.
Major resurfacing works were carried out by Sligo Borough Council, (then known as Sligo Corporation) on Adelaide Street and on Union Street prior to the opening of the bridge.
The contractors for the construction of the Michael Hughes Bridge were Ascon Ltd, Ireland's largest Civil Engineering Contractor based in Kill, County Kildare.
The Michael Hughes Bridge was named after the late Councillor Michael Hughes who spearheaded the campaign to have a new road bridge built across the Garavogue River in the 1940's, and was opened by Mayor Matt Lyons, which he described as being "the most historic civic occasion in Sligo for decades"
2,000 people turned out to see the opening of this long-awaited piece of infrastructure, which included many schoolchildren, as all of the school's in Sligo Town were closed for the day.
Mayor Matt Lyons unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the bridge, this was followed by a multi-denominational blessing ceremony and a parade across the bridge.
A ship anchored nearby, blasted its siren as the bridge, the first new bridge in Sligo Town since 1852, was officially declared open.
The Hughes Bridge underwent a major road-widening project in 2015, costing €3.75 million, which increased the width of the bridge from 4 to 6 lanes, one lane of which will not be opened to traffic until phase 2 of the project, which hasn't yet been started, is finished.
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