The Foyle Bridge was opened in 1984 to provide a second crossing on the Foyle in the city as the Craigavon bridge alone was not enough for the growing amount of traffic in the city. It was built for the roads service by RDL- John Graham (Dromore) Joint Venture, with the consulting engineers being Ove Arup and Partners, it took 4 years to build and cost £15,765,000. The 3 main steel box spans were built by Harland and Wolf shipyard in Belfast in 6 segments which weighted as much as 900 tones each.
The site of the bridge is right next to where the boom was placed across the river by Jacobite forces during the Siege. It’s the 3rd bridge to be named Foyle Bridge, one is no longer standing and the other was renamed to the Lifford Bridge. Until the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Bridge was built in 2020, the Foyle Bridge was the longest bridge in Ireland at 866 metres and the longest span is 234 metres. The bridge is a dual carriageway with 2 lanes going each way and a foot path on either side its used by around 30,000 vehicles every day.
The bridge is often closed during windy weather because of its high height and the strong gusts of wind that travel along the Foyle, when its closed you see just how needed the bridge is as there are huge queues at the Craigavon Bridge. Despite the precautions a lorry was blow off the bridge in 2005, it was found that it wasn’t windy enough for this to happen so it was concluded to be a particularly strong gust that caused it. Following the incident there was a new automated system put in place to warn drivers to reduce their speed when there is a potential for strong gusts and to close the bridge when the wind speed is over 50mph.
The footways on the bridge connect onto the 2 Greenways that run on either side of the river; on the cityside it connects into the Bay Road Park, then the Quayside walkway goes right into the city centre; on the waterside the bridge connects to the Waterside greenway that runs towards St Columb’s Park, Ebrington & the Peace Bridge.