PM's dream of a crossing to Northern Ireland is set to be shelved

A bridge too far: Boris Johnson’s dream of a crossing to Northern Ireland is set to be shelved amid rumours it could cost £24bn

Boris Johnson’s cherished dream of a bridge or tunnel from Scotland to Northern Ireland looks set to be shelved.

A review due out today concludes it would be too costly and too technically difficult.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy 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. 

Sources say this was due to the technical challenge and huge expense – estimated at £24 billion.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy 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

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy 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 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.

It is understood that the report will leave the door open to a fixed link connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland in future. 

It will also recommend boosting capacity on the West Coast Main Line rail link from London to Glasgow, and upgrading the A75, the road to Scotland’s west coast and the Northern Ireland ferry ports.

Road and rail improvements between England and Wales will also be urged.

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.’

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