HC Deb 24 October 1949 vol 468 cc981-2
2. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Transport what action he intends to take to improve the Manchester Ship Canal bridges and to construct the urgently-required new bridges; where it is proposed that the new bridges shall be built; and if he will consider the need for new bridges at Salford, Eccles, Barton and Irlam.

Mr. Barnes

As highway authority for trunk roads, I am directly interested only in Knutsford Road swing bridge, which carries the existing trunk road. I propose to divert the road and carry it over the canal by a new bridge to be built about a mile to the east. I do not know the full plans of the other highway authorities concerned but I understand that they have in mind the improvement of several of the existing bridges and the construction of new ones between Eccles and Urmston and between Widnes and Runcorn. All these schemes are long-term projects, the execution of which must await a substantial improvement in the economic situation.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Seeing that that has been the answer for 30 years, could the Minister now give us some indication of what the priority of this district will be?

Mr. Barnes

I am afraid I cannot do that. My hon. Friend must note the last part of my remarks, namely, that it depends on the economic circumstances.

Squadron-Leader Fleming

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the business people of Manchester look upon the Barton Bridge area as the most seriously congested, and could he say whether what he has in mind will relieve the congestion in that area?

Mr. Barnes

I think it would make a very substantial contribution.