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No.10 resurrects Scotland-Ireland bridge plan

11 February 2020 | By Neil Gerrard

The government has resurrected plans for a bridge linking Scotland and Ireland in an apparent attempt to boost the union after Brexit.

Number 10 has confirmed that government officials are looking into the feasibility of the bridge, which could cost around £20bn.

The idea has previously been floated by prime minister Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary, with possible routes including a 20-mile stretch between Portpatrick and Larne, or near Campbelltown to the Antrim cast.

But any such project involves significant challenges, including the need to build around 30 huge support towers in water up to 300m (1,000ft) deep. There are also concerns that the bridge would need to cross the Beaufort Dyke, where 1.5m tonnes of munitions were dumped in 1946 after the second world war, reportedly with no maps of their locations.

Chris Richards, head of policy and public affairs at the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “If this is a serious proposal from the government, it should be put to the National Infrastructure Commission and subject to a comprehensive and independent study. This would allow the right discussions about feasibility, cost and whole-life benefits to be had, and could independently consider whether a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland may enhance the wider infrastructure system.

“It is important that all projects be considered in a holistic and strategic way - at their core, major infrastructure projects, such as a bridge, must address a societal need. We need to move away from projects being viewed in isolation if we are to get closer to meeting national goals, such as addressing climate change. We expect that the government’s upcoming National Infrastructure Strategy will offer a co-ordinated plan of action that maximises the full potential of UK infrastructure investment."

Comments

This project was some time ago considered not feasible due to depth and location?

Sheila, 11 February 2020

Sirs,
Please can we, as professionals in the built environment, please not quote costs in the way this article does - "could cost around £20bn" is an unattributed statement and has been widely contested as unrealistic by the industry. Yet it has appeared in your article and will now be used as 'evidence' of the cost when the bridge is debated by our political masters.
Personally I guess the cost at £40-60bn, but the only basis for that is gut feel. Add on the approach roads/rail through to Lockerbie, plus whatever is needed in NI. Again, though, it is just an assertion. Hopefully there is someone in the industry with actual experience who could give the nation a more realistic guide?

Steve King, 11 February 2020

How about looking into a tunnel eg the type being proposed in the USA where pods are used as form of trams post rather than trains . Surly this would enable speed of transfer and also be a first for uk.. personally I would think this would be a better option that HS2 bit that won’t happen..

mark, 11 February 2020

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