I am writing in response to the newly built, €60m, architecturally redundant Beckett Bridge, as an architect who lives on East Wall Road in Dublin 3, the area the bridge DOES NOT connect to!

I was so shocked and appalled that my taxi fare from the south side was more expensive due to using the bridge because of the no right turn, that the following evening I drove there to be certain the taxi driver hadn't made a mistake. Alas no! I ended right back at the IFSC, the normal route home. To make matters worse, I realised there is no left turn from the northside either, effectively ensuring the bridge is off limits at all times.

I can't find the words to convey what I think about this. I am absolutely shocked, both as resident of the area and as an architect. As aesthetically pleasing as the bridge is, it is redundant as a piece of infrastructure that is meant to connect Dublin 2 to Dublin 3. It doesn't. Although the new conference centre car park can be accessed, cars can stop only some distance away from the building if dropping someone off. It had been promoted that the bridge would serve Point City. It doesn't.

If An Bord Pleanála stipulated these conditions due to objections of a small few, then it is as effective as the government it represents. If there were objections, they can be upheld only if there are valid reasons under planning legislation.

Their "calculations" argument doesn't add up either. If heavy vehicles are the issue, trucks could be refused access onto the bridge. Why is it that any traffic coming from Dublin 3 or the port still forms congestion at the IFSC and Pearse Street? Any traffic coming from Dublin 2 will still congest Pearse Street and IFSC. Any change to Dublin traffic? None.

This is the crux of why this €60m bridge is redundant. With no change to traffic congestion, it is a bridge without a purpose. Without a purpose, there can be no design brief. Purpose and brief are necessary for good design, architecture and engineering. With a purpose and brief this bridge is good enough to win engineering and architecture awards. It's how good projects are assessed. A building or structure that doesn't have a purpose is in trouble.

Planners play with taxpayers' money as if it were their own. This is nothing new to an architect, however. It's a wonder the construction industry went into decline as late as it did, and a credit to the architects and engineers who have had to contend for so long with the kind of planning insanity epitomised by the Beckett bridge.

All this as well as the Port Tunnel, which still remains relatively unused for 75% of the day. Dublin 3 is now possibly the most environmentally unfriendly area in Ireland: a shortcut that can't be used, increasing fuel consumption, and a bridge that, if used, also increases fuel consumption.

Ireland's planning system, as always, knows better than the people it serves and its architects and engineers. Maybe the civil service will not listen to the people who pay their wages, but they might listen to international design critics when they say the bridge, while beautiful, is a waste of money and a wasted piece of infrastructure.

Mark Lacey,


Dublin 3