Boris’s dream of moving to NI, shattered after review, costs up to £ 335 billion

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Boris’s “vanity projects”: from Thames Airport (“Boris Island”) to £ 53 million Garden Bridge

The Prime Minister’s dream of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland now lies in ruins after Peter Hendy’s devastating report ruled that the project’s enormous prices would be “impossible to justify”.

It’s just the latest infrastructure scheme promoted by Boris Johnson that hasn’t materialized.

Thames Estuary Airport (“Boris Island”)

As Mayor of London, Mr Johnson has supported the construction of a six-runway airport to be built on an artificial island at the mouth of the River Thames as a replacement for Heathrow Airport.

The scheme, called “Boris Island,” was originally proposed by the Thames Estuary Research and Development Agency, set up by the Tory leader.

The airport commission eventually rejected the project in January 2014 in favor of further upgrading Heathrow.

London Garden Bridge

Mr Johnson supported the Garden Bridge project, designed by actress Joanna Lumley as Mayor of London.

The bridge would sit along the Thames between the Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges and would carry only pedestrians. The project also included a business facility to be built on a former green area at the southern end of the bridge.

In July 2016, preparatory work for the bridge was halted and the Garden Bridge Trust put the contractors on standby to allow for a financial review.

The following year, trustees of the future bridge owner, the Garden Bridge Trust, said the cost would “significantly exceed” the previously amended total of £ 185 million.

The Margaret Hodge report then concluded, based on the Garden Bridge Trust’s own evidence, that the cost would be more than £ 200 million.

The failed project cost £ 53 million, of which £ 43 million was taxpayer money.

London Underground

Perhaps the most bizarre infrastructure project proposed by Mr Johnson was the construction of underground roads in London in an attempt to reduce pollution.

Inspired by a visit to Boston, where the Central Artery-Tunnel project, known as the Big Dig, helped reduce traffic, Mr Johnson worked with TfL to consider different locations in London before naming cities in Richmond, Hammersmith and Tolworth and two in north and east London.

In 2016, he said, “Renovating some of our complex and outdated road networks under our city would not only provide additional traffic capacity, but would also free up surface space and reduce the impact of noise and pollution.”

He added that the first tunnel – the so-called Northern Cross City Corridor – could be opened in 20 years and financed by tolls.

Boris Johnson’s fantasy about a bridge connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland was dashed today after an official inspection found that the dream of a pipeline would cost hundreds of billions of pounds.

The prime minister enthusiastically promoted the so-called “Boris Bridge” between Britain and the province, which he insisted could help strengthen the Union after the divisions caused by Brexit and the Scottish independence referendum in recent years.

However, the proposal was ridiculed as “the dumbest bridge in history”, while Conservative MPs joked that trains would be “pulled by unicorns”. Critics also pointed out that a huge underwater ammunition dump could be needed to build it.

Network Rail President Sir Peter Hendy, who was asked by Mr Johnson to carry out a feasibility study, warned today that the entire trip across the Irish Sea could cost as much as £ 335 billion for the bridge crossing and £ 209 billion for the tunnel crossing. – several times higher than the previously mentioned figures.

In a horrific assessment of the proposal, Sir Peter said that the construction of a bridge or tunnel was “technically feasible”, but said that “new transport links are unlikely to be started, built and opened for at least 25 to 30 years” and “no would be without major challenges ”.

He also noted that the final price would be “impossible to justify, given the government’s already important commitment to long-term improvement of transport infrastructure for equalization”. Sir Peter added: “The benefits could in no way outweigh the cost to the public coffers.”

In a sign that Downing Street is distancing itself from the proposal, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced in a round of interviews this morning: “A tunnel or a fixed connection will not happen.”

The “Boris Bridge” is the last major transport project promoted by the Prime Minister that has never seen the light of day.

While he was mayor of London, Mr Johnson supported plans for an airport at the mouth of the Thames, which the media dubbed ‘Boris Island’, an expensive Garden Bridge across the Thames and underground roads in London like those in Boston. One by one, these projects have either been abandoned because they are too expensive, or have not yet materialized.

Today’s report comes at the end of a politically difficult week for the prime minister, who has been forced to defend his leadership and political future after a series of controversies, including accusations of base, HS2 turnaround and his strange pig Pepe speech. at the CBI conference.

“Future transport technological advances, especially autonomous vehicles, could allow for different designs of tunnels and bridges, which could allow for the construction of a fixed transport link and approaches at lower costs,” Sir Peter wrote.

“For now, however, the benefits could in no way outweigh the costs to the public coffers.

“Therefore, my recommendation to the government is that further work on the fixed link should not go beyond this feasibility study.”

However, in a bit of consolation for the Prime Minister, Sir Peter added: “Despite my recommendation, I am clear that this was a great question.

“For decades, politicians and engineers have been discussing this proposal, but they have been doing so without evidence to show whether this is possible and if so, what would be needed to do so.”

The idea of ​​a bridge or tunnel was examined as part of a broader study called the Union Connectivity Review, which looked at how transport links between the four UK countries could be strengthened.

Sir Peter said he found the “state-of-the-art construction technology of the twenty-first century” to be a technically feasible bridge or tunnel between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

He emphasized, however, that this will be the ‘longest bridge ever built’ with 41 kilometers, and the 84-kilometer tunnel will also be the longest ever built.

“The tunnel would be the longest submarine tunnel ever built given the limited slopes on which trains can run, the route they would have to traverse, and the depths they would have to reach,” Sir Peter wrote.

“Furthermore, based on today’s technology and safety considerations, the tunnel crossing could only be built for rail use.

“The need for a railway on a bridge or tunnel would also require significant construction to connect it to the rail network at both ends, which would introduce some complexity, as the Irish railway track is different from that in the UK.”

The proposed bridge or tunnel would potentially run between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in Antrim County

Network Rail Prime Minister Sir Peter Hendy (right) has asked the Prime Minister to launch a feasibility study and it is understood that he has ruled out such a plan in the near future

Network Rail Prime Minister Sir Peter Hendy (right) has asked the Prime Minister to launch a feasibility study and it is understood that he has ruled out such a plan in the near future

When the February transition reappeared as an option, the chairman of the Tory Committee of Northern Ireland, Simon Hoare, heard the idea.

Reiterating comments that the Channel Tunnel had been built for 30 years and the issue of weapons sunk into the Irish Sea after the war, he tweeted: “Trains could be hauled by an inexhaustible herd of unicorns controlled by strict, official dodges.

The review found that the total route could be as much as £ 335 billion for the bridge crossing and £ 209 billion for the tunnel crossing - many times more than the figures discussed earlier.

The review found that the total route could be as much as £ 335 billion for the bridge crossing and £ 209 billion for the tunnel crossing – many times more than the figures discussed earlier.

“PushmePullYou could be a senior guard and Puff the Magic Dragon an inspector.

‘Let’s focus on making the Protocol work and eliminate hallucinogens.’

He added: ‘Another’ minor hurdle ‘is the NI track, which is the’ all Ireland ‘track, which is different from the one used in the UK. I’m not Brunel, but I think that could be a problem. ‘

Nicola Sturgeon rejected the idea and called on the Chancellor to send the funds to the relevant administrations to help resolve domestic issues.

In March last year, Mrs Sturgeon said: “If you have £ 20 billion to build the bridge, I am sure I would and I am sure that the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland could also find things for it now it would actually be very useful to speed up progress to zero. ‘

Last night, the prime minister said he intended to adopt a recommendation to establish UKNET, a new body with representatives from the four countries that would identify and plan how cross-border connections could be strengthened.

Henri Murison of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership commented: “With the Boris Bridge to Northern Ireland back in the grain box he came in, it’s time to focus on infrastructure projects that have a strong economic reason, such as a new line across all of Penine . the journey from Manchester to Leeds via Bradford. “

The government has come under fire for criticizing allegations of subversion following Owen Patterson’s lobbying scandal and its sudden reversal of HS2, highlighted by the so-called ‘Red Wall Tories’, has alienated communities in the north who voted for Conservatives in the last general election.

Even the prime minister had to turn away from worries about his health after giving a strange speech to leading companies at a CBI conference in which he talked about Peppa the pig, compared himself to Moses and lost his place in his notes.

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