The East-Link Bridge is the last bridge on the River Liffey before it enters Dublin Bay. The bridge was fabricated by Thompson of Carlow at its manufacturing plant in Carlow town Ireland. It is one of twenty four road, rail and passenger bridges which span the Liffey in the greater Dublin area.
The East-Link Bridge is officially known as the Tom Clarke Bridge. It replaced a ferry which had operated in the area between north and south banks of the Liffey since 1665. Having carried out studies of traffic over a period of years, beginning in 1960, it was decided that a new bridge was required in the area. Permission to build the bridge was given by the government in 1982. The permission contained the proviso that access could continue to be provided for shipping.
Construction began in April 1983 and took over eighteen months to complete. Apart from approach roads, roundabouts, a 6-lane Toll Plaza and other enabling works the bridge itself is 150m long. It has four 26 metre fixed spans and one 45 metre opening span. The opening span is a bascule (drawbridge) type which can open quickly and requires relatively little energy to operate. While the fixed spans are of precast concrete, high tensile steel was used in the manufacture of the opening span.
The centre span was delivered from Carlow to the site in June 1984. It had undergone rigorous mechanical testing during its manufacture in Carlow. X-ray tests were carried out on all welds. The centre span was lifted into place in June 1984 by a crane which was brought from Rotterdam. It is claimed that up to then the central span was probably the heaviest weight ever lifted by a crane, which was operating off water, in Ireland.
The East-Link Bridge was officially opened by An Taoiseach Dr Garrett Fitzgerald on October 22nd 1984. The bridge quickly reached its target traffic of 11,000 vehicles per day. Today it is used by over 14,000 vehicles per day. The lifting system for the centre span is housed in a central pier. The centre span can be lifted in one minute. It is generally lifted three times per day to allow for shipping traffic.
The central span of the East Link Toll Bridge over the Liffey in Dublin, which was manufactured by Thompson Engineering Carlow, was lifted into place in the year 1984 On This Day.THE RAISING AND LOWERING OF THE TOM CLARKE BRIDGE [WAS THE EAST-LINK TOLL BRIDGE]