HC Deb 08 February 1956 vol 548 cc1651-2
32 and 33. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) what effect the proposal to build a new bridge crossing the Tyne in place of the proposed Tyne Tunnel has on the priority afforded to the project; and when he expects work upon the bridge to be commenced;

(2) the estimated cost of the proposed new bridge crossing the Tyne; and how this compares with the cost of the proposed Tyne Tunnel.

Mr. Watkinson

The cost of a bridge has been provisionally estimated at about £6 million as compared with about £11 million for a tunnel. Neither scheme can be included in the earlier years of the road programme, and I cannot therefore say when work will be started.

Mr. Willey

Would the Minister agree that the Tyne Tunnel project has a specific priority—it follows the Whiteinch Tunnel—and that if a bridge is now to replace the Tyne Tunnel project, particularly as it would cost less, we expect it to hold at least the same priority that the tunnel project held?

Mr. Watkinson

We had first better decide whether it is to be a tunnel or a bridge.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that on the North-East Coast we are getting a bit depressed about the way we are being fussed around over tunnels and bridges, and that our trade is as important to the country as the trade in the rest of this island? Therefore, it is of vital importance that we should know when we shall get our new tunnel or bridge. How long is my right hon. Friend taking before he makes up his mind what we are to have?

Mr. Watkinson

I must await the results of a lot of technical examinations but I will try to get them done as soon as I can.

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