A bridge too far! Boris’s dream of a crossing to Northern Ireland is shattered after official review finds it would cost up to £335BILLION to build – double the annual NHS budget
The PM was enthusiastic about the link, which he insisted could help strengthen the union after 布雷西.
然而, the proposal was derided as the ‘stupidest bridge in history’ while Tory MPs joked the trains would be ‘pulled by unicorns. Critics pointed out it could require clearing out a huge undersea munitions dump.
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy was asked by Mr Johnson to carry out a feasibility study – but he concluded today that the ‘benefits could not possibly outweigh the costs’.
He said the the full route could be as much as £335billion for a bridge crossing and £209billion for a tunnel crossing – many times higher than the figures that had previously been mooted. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a round of interviews this morning: ‘The tunnel or fixed link isn’t going to happen.’
‘Future transport technological advances, particularly autonomous vehicles, could allow for different tunnel and bridge designs, which could enable the construction of a fixed transport link and approaches at a lower cost,’ Sir Peter wrote.
'目前, 虽然, the benefits could not possibly outweigh the costs to the public purse.
‘It is therefore my recommendation to Government that further work on the fixed link should not progress beyond this feasibility study.’
然而, in a crumb of comfort for the PM Sir Peter added: ‘Despite my recommendation, I am clear that this was an excellent question to ask.
‘For many decades, politicians and engineers have debated this proposal, but have done so without the evidence to show whether it was possible and, if so, what it would take to do it.’
The proposed bridge or tunnel would have potentially run between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in County Antrim
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy (对) was asked by the Prime Minister to launch a feasibility study and it is understood he has ruled out such a plan for the foreseeable future
The review concluded that said the the full route could be as much as £335billion for a bridge crossing and £209billion for a tunnel crossing – many times higher than the figures that had previously been mooted
The bridge or tunnel idea was examined as part of a wider study called the Union Connectivity Review, looking at how transport links between the four UK nations can be boosted.
Sir Peter said he had concluded that ‘cutting-edge, twenty-first century civil engineering technology’ made a bridge or a tunnel between Britain and Northern Ireland technically possible.
But he pointed out that at 41km it would be ‘longest span bridge built to date’, and the 84km tunnel would also be the longest ever constructed.
‘A tunnel would be the longest undersea tunnel ever built given the limited gradients on which trains can operate, the route it would need to take and the depths it would need to reach,’ Sir Peter wrote.
'此外, based on today’s technology and safety considerations, a tunnel crossing could only be constructed for railway use.
‘The need for a railway on either a bridge or tunnel would also require significant construction to connect it to the railway network at either end, introducing some complexity since the Irish railway gauge is different from that of Great Britain.’
When the crossing emerged as a prospect again in February the Tory chair of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, Simon Hoare lampooned the idea.
Echoing comments that the Channel Tunnel took 30 years to get built, and the issue of weapons that were sunk in the Irish Sea after the war, 他发了推文: ‘The trains could be pulled by an inexhaustible herd of Unicorns overseen by stern, officious dodos.
‘A PushmePullYou could be the senior guard and Puff the Magic Dragon the inspector.
‘Let’s concentrate on making the Protocol work and put the hallucinogenics down.’
他加了: ‘Also another ”minor hurdle” is the NI railway gauge is an ”all Ireland” gauge which is different to that used in GB. I’m not Brunel but I think this might be a bit of a problem.’
Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed the idea, urging the Chancellor to send the funding to the devolved administrations to help deal with domestic issues.
去年三月, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘If you’ve got £20billion available to build a bridge, I’m pretty sure me and I’m sure equally the First Minister of Northern Ireland would be able to find things to spend that on right now that actually would be really useful to accelerate the progress to net-zero.’
Last night the PM said he intended to accept a recommendation to create UKNET, a new body with representatives from the four nations which will identify and map out how cross-border connections can be boosted.
Henri Murison of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership commented: ‘With the Boris Bridge to Northern Ireland back in the cereal box it came in, it is time to focus on infrastructure projects which have a strong economic case, such as a new line across the Pennines all the way from Manchester to Leeds via Bradford.’