Carrick firm completes lucrative bridge contract

The completed bridge at Dublin port.  INCT 13-726-CON
The completed bridge at Dublin port. INCT 13-726-CON

A Carrickfergus engineering company has received a major business boost after completing a contract worth 700,000 Euro.

Woodburn Engineering undertook one of their largest projects to date after constructing a massive steel bridge entirely at their Trailcock Lane workshops.

Spanning 288 foot, the 200 tonne structure is now in place over a carriageway at Dublin Port.

The project was particularly significant after a series of vandalism attacks in 2012 threatened to put the company out of business.

In July 2012, damage was caused following a break-in at the site.

Meanwhile, a second incident in November saw two of the company’s portable buildings completely destroyed and a third damaged in an arson attack.

Speaking to the Carrick Times in November 2012, Aisling Cowan, whose family run the business, said the site had been targeted dozens of times over the years.

“The buildings that were destroyed included the foreman’s office and the canteen area, so there’s going to be quite a bit of expense involved in replacing those,” Aisling said.

“It’s very demoralising that the business has been attacked again. If this keeps happening it will probably have to shut down for no other reason than someone causing malicious damage.”

The attacks were also strongly condemned by local representatives, many of whom were keen to point out the company’s investment in the borough’s workforce over the past three decades.

Despite the difficulties, the company bounced back to secure the lucrative deal, equivalent to over half a million pounds.

“At the time, we just got on with it and it wasn’t long after that we were awarded this major contract in Dublin,” said Tony Cowan, managing director of the firm.

“The bridge was built entirely at our workshops in Carrickfergus and shipped to Dublin in three pieces.

“Work began in August and kept our 25-strong work force very busy until March.

“The port tunnel was closed on three separate nights to accommodate the erection process.

“This involved a 750 tonne crane, one of the largest in Ireland, lifting a 67 tonne section into place.

“The purpose of the bridge is to enable the Dublin port to access a ten acre site on the far side of a very busy road into the Port tunnel.”

The port bridge contract also provided work for a number of local apprentices from Larne Skills.

“This is one of the largest projects our company has undertaken and all went to plan,” added Tony.

“We have been building bridges and gantries for the past 30 years in Carrickfergus and have managed to find enough work over UK and Ireland to keep the workforce steady.”