Boris Johnson’s dreams of a bridge connecting Northern Ireland and Scotland were dead in the water after a study by the government concluded such a project would be “very difficult and expensive”.
Sir Peter Hendy, the Network Rail chairman, was tasked by the prime minister in June 2020 with conducting a wider “Union connectivity review” to assess improvements to transport links between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Last September Mr Johnson asked civil servants to consider the building of a 21-mile bridge between Northern Ireland and the British mainland at an estimated cost of £20 billion.
A possible bridge or tunnel between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in Northern Ireland was included in the overall review but is set to be officially scrapped in the coming weeks as the study will be made publicly available.
A Government source told The Telegraph: “Hendy has examined if this is affordable and practical and he concludes it would be technically very challenging at the moment.
“That’s not to say it won’t become viable at some point in the future, but at the moment it would be very, very difficult and expensive.”
Natural difficulties would make the project impossible as water in the North Channel of the Irish Sea is too deep.
The water runs more than 1,000 ft deep in places, meaning that some of the largest support towers ever constructed would have been necessary.
Risks of explosions in the seabed were also put into consideration as the area was used as an offshore ammunition dump in the Second World War.
Strong gales in the region would have also closed a bridge crossing for up to 100 days a year for safety reasons.
Reacting to the news on social media, many seemed to think the news was oh-so-predictable.
Here’s a pick of what people had to say: