A Nottinghamshire council leader does not "hold out much hope" on progress being made towards a fourth River Trent crossing, despite a Government minister saying she would look into putting a business case together for it. Campaigners have been calling for the bridge to be built for decades but the issue came to a head in February 2020 when the closure of Clifton Bridge eastbound for emergency repairs caused journey times to be lengthened by hours.
The issue has now been discussed at a debate in Westminster Hall called by Gedling's Conservative MP, Tom Randall. The debate was being held on Nottinghamshire transport more generally, but the fourth River Trent crossing was one of the key projects discussed during the event on Wednesday (October 19).
Speaking about the merits of the crossing, Mr Randall highlighted an opinion piece on the matter by Nottinghamshire Live's editor Natalie Fahy, written in 2020. On the broader merits of the project, he said: "A fourth Trent crossing to the east of the city would relieve the pressure on the existing system. If it was constructed in, for example, Colwick, that would complement the recently built Gedling access road, while also providing better services and better access to the A46 for residents in the eastern side of Nottingham.
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"Midlands Connect has described the A46, which runs from Somerset to Lincolnshire, as one of the country’s most important trade routes, performing an important local, regional and national function. The Government have previously signalled their commitment to the importance of the A46 in Nottinghamshire by widening the single carriageway section between Newark and Widmerpool, and there are plans for an A46 Newark bypass.
"A fourth Trent crossing would connect Gedling to the A46 corridor. I spoke earlier about the East Midlands freeport and the thousands of green jobs that it is destined to create. I want my constituents to be able to access those jobs, which a fourth Trent crossing would help them to do."
Transport minister Katherine Fletcher said that she would "follow up with official help" in terms of pulling a business case together for a fourth Trent crossing. But Councillor John Clarke, the Labour leader of Gedling Borough Council, told Nottinghamshire Live: "I don't hold out much hope because when you look at HS2 and other projects like that, it takes time to get to the stage of these things being done. It's good that this is being talked about, but we have already done surveys on the need for the crossing and on the environmental impact so the evidence is there, what we need now is some energy from the Government.
"It doesn't help when there is so much change in ministers and I think it probably needs a year for everybody to calm down a bit now. We need a transport minister to be settled in and to understand the project, but I do wish there was more of a team effort on this."
Katherine Fletcher added at the end of the debate: "A number of members mentioned the fourth Trent crossing—as someone who has got stuck in Nottingham when traffic grinds to a halt, I recognise the points they made. The proposal is in its embryonic days, but perhaps I can write to Members with the routes and the opportunities there are to build an investment case locally and get that on to the Department for Transport's slate."
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