Prime Minister’s plan for Northern Ireland-Scotland bridge “on the verge of being scrapped”
Boris Johnson’s dream of a £ 20bn bridge or tunnel connecting Northern Ireland and Scotland died in water “after official review concluded it would be too expensive and difficult “
- Boris Johnson has spoken on several occasions about his dream of building a Scotland-NI bridge
- He commissioned a feasibility study to determine if a bridge or tunnel could be viable
- But the review would have concluded that it would be too expensive and difficult
Boris Johnson’s dream of building a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland died in the water after a review concluded the project would be too expensive and difficult.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly expressed his desire to build a permanent transport link across the Irish Sea.
He asked Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy to conduct a feasibility study on the project as part of a larger review on how to strengthen connectivity across the UK.
The results of the review are expected to be released this week and the Sunday Telegraph has said it will rule out construction of the bridge or tunnel for the foreseeable future.
Boris Johnson’s dream of building a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland died in water after a review concluded the project would be too expensive and difficult
The proposed bridge or tunnel would have potentially operated between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in County Antrim
A government source told the newspaper: “Hendy has considered whether this is affordable and practical and he concludes that it would be technically very difficult at the moment.
“That’s not to say it won’t become viable at some point in the future, but right now it would be very, very difficult and expensive.”
Mr Johnson paved the way for the project to be put on hold in September this year when he said it “remains an ambition” but “not the most immediate priority”.
The Treasury was very concerned that the project, which is estimated to be priced at £ 20 billion, might turn out to be a white elephant.
The decision to put the bridge or tunnel plan on hold comes after Mr Johnson faced backlash for removing the eastern part of the HS2 high-speed rail line between Leeds and Birmingham.
Mr Johnson first proposed a bridge to Northern Ireland three years ago, but it has been rejected by many experts who have warned that building the 20-mile link from Scotland would be a huge logistical challenge.
It would have potentially operated between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in County Antrim.
The original idea for a bridge was dropped due to fears that strong winds in the Irish Sea would require frequent closures.
The Treasury was concerned that the project, which is estimated to cost £ 20bn, might turn out to be a white elephant
The original idea for a bridge was dropped due to fears that strong winds in the Irish Sea would require frequent closures. The feasibility of a tunnel was also examined
Major concerns were also raised over how the project would navigate the Beaufort’s Dyke area – the UK’s largest offshore unloading site for conventional and chemical munitions after World War II.
In some places, the route of the bridge would have crossed water more than 1,000 feet deep, requiring the largest support towers ever built.
The idea of a tunnel was also considered, as well as a combination of a bridge and a tunnel.