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Study backs bridge-tunnel structure between Northern Ireland and Scotland

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Plans for a physical link between Northern Ireland and Scotland came a step closer yesterday after it was revealed that the Prime Minister is to receive the result of a feasibility study into what many are calling the 'Boris Bridge'.

It's understood the latest study will recommend a combined bridge and tunnel linking Larne with Portpatrick in Scotland's Galloway region.

One of the main engineering obstacles to the concept is the existence of the Beaufort Dyke, a 1,000ft-deep undersea trench off the Scottish coast that was used as a dump for munitions and toxic waste after the Second World War.

The latest plan suggests that this trench could be spanned by a bridge, which would then link to an underwater tunnel for the remainder of the distance to Larne.

Costs are thought to be in the region of £20bn for a combined road and rail link, the first to span the Irish Sea.

The project has long been supported by the DUP.

Last night party transport spokesman Paul Girvan MP said connectivity between the parts of the UK was vital.

"We must invest in local roads, but we must also build infrastructure for the next generation," he said.

"We first asked for a feasibility study into this project in 2015.

"Let's get the facts to see if it is feasible and what impact it would have on the economy.

"Whether it's tunnel or bridge and what route it would take.

"I will continue to raise this in Westminster.

"Connectivity between the UK is key, and this could be a vital connection for the future."

Critics of the idea have said it is to difficult and too expensive, and that the money would be better spent on other things.

But Boris Johnson is known to be in favour of major infrastructure projects that he sees as helping unite the UK in the post-Brexit era, among them the HS2 rail project.

Proposals for a physical link between Scotland and the north of Ireland date back to the 19th century.

The first proposal was submitted in 1869 by Irish engineer Luke Livingston Macassey.

Belfast Telegraph