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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Andrew Topping & Joshua Hartley

Planned new bridge over River Trent 'pushing forward' with renewed calls for another

Plans for a new bridge over the River Trent are 'pushing forward' according to Nottingham City Council. It comes after the city council agreed costs with landowners so proposals can progress for the new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Trent, which would connect Lady Bay to the vast £100m Trent Basin waterside housing estate near Colwick.

The details and costs of this decision have been restricted. But it comes after more than £9m in Government funding was secured, which is expected to cover the entirety of the project.

If all goes to plan, it is hoped the bridge will open in 2023. A full planning application is set to be submitted at the start of next year.

Read more: UK's first wireless electric taxis trial to launch in Nottingham

The structure will be the first new bridge over the River Trent since Clifton Bridge opened in 1958. The bridge is designed to make it easier for walkers and cyclists to places such as Colwick Country Park from the south side of the river, connecting Lady Bay and Trent Basin, off Trent Lane, where hundreds of homes are expected to be built.

A Nottingham City Council spokesman said: "The City Council is pushing forward with plans to construct the new cycle and pedestrian bridge and over recent months has been working with land owners, the Environment Agency and a principal contractor to develop the scheme. A planning application is due to be submitted in the new year and we are working with the contractor to advance the design of the scheme and firm up the scheme cost."

Planners have said it will complement the other four bridges already built – Wilford Toll Bridge, the Suspension Bridge, Trent Bridge and Lady Bay Bridge.

The boundary between the city council and Rushcliffe borough runs along the centre of the river therefore a joint planning application will need to be submitted. But there are sill aspirations for a new vehicle bridge in the future.

It comes as three Nottinghamshire MPs reignited calls for a fourth road bridge over the River Trent and called on ministers to work with them in drawing up a business case. Calls for it have been voiced for several years to ease congestion and shorten travel times on both sides of the river.

Politicians in Gedling and Rushcliffe have long suggested a fourth bridge should be created to help people in both areas and prevent motorists travelling “out of their way” to use Gunthorpe Bridge, near East Bridgford.

They believe the new bridge could connect motorists from Colwick to Radcliffe-on-Trent while reducing congestion in nearby industrial estates and around the A52 corridor near Gamston.

Tom Randall, Gedling’s Conservative MP, has been leading the calls since he was first elected in December 2019. He called a ‘transport in Nottinghamshire’ debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on Wednesday (October 19) and reignited the calls alongside fellow county MPs.

“A fourth Trent crossing would relieve the pressure on the existing system and, if constructed for example at Colwick, would complement the recently-built Gedling Access Road,” he said.

“It would be costly and I appreciate infrastructure projects take time and need to go step-by-step. But I’d be grateful if the Minister would indicate her support for a strategic outline business case for such a project, which would come in – even at these financially-strained times – at a manageable £150,000.”

Recently, residents and traders in both areas on either side of the proposed new bridge indicated support for the proposals. They said it would help businesses and commuters in accessing different parts of the county while taking the strain off existing roads.

In February 2020, cracks in the structure of Clifton Bridge – which connects the city with the A52 near Clifton and Lenton – caused months of closures and delays. At the time of its closure – which only came to an end this time last year – the city was found to be the most congested in the world.

Further concerns were raised earlier this summer when a lorry crashed off the side of Lady Bay Bridge and initially caused a complete, week-long closure. This incident caused issues in both Nottingham and West Bridgford, with the closure reduced to a one-way closure heading into Nottingham before works to repair it concluded a month later.

Speaking in the Westminster Hall debate, Ruth Edwards, Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, also indicated her support for the project. She said: “Chaos rained down across Nottinghamshire on the weekend Clifton Bridge was first shut for emergency repairs.

“We are stretched to capacity, at the moment, for our infrastructure in terms of crossing the Trent. I really hope the minister will commit to looking at getting this business case – this initial assessment of proposals – delivered, so we can look at what our options are as well as cost and timescales for delivery.”

And Councillor Ben Bradley, Mansfield’s MP, who is also the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, reiterated similar calls. His council is the transport authority that would be involved in drawing up any business cases for the potential bridge and said he would welcome working with Government to bring forward any proposals.

“Mr Randall and I have discussed this [in my remit] as leader of the council,” he said. While it is, truthfully, beyond our local budgets, I would very much welcome the opportunity to work with Government and bring forward a business case in the way he has described.”

Katherine Fletcher MP (Con), the Department for Transport’s (DfT) roads minister and under-secretary of state, was Whitehall’s representative in the meeting. Ms Fletcher, who studied biology at the University of Nottingham, told the Nottinghamshire MPs she will take their suggestions away to the DfT for discussions but said the plans are in their “very embryonic days”.

She said: “As someone that has got stuck in Nottingham when it grinds to a halt I do recognise the points [members] are making. The project, at this stage – highlighting wanting to pull a business case together to get the investment and ease congestion – I’m happy to take that away.

“It’s something that is in its very embryonic days. If I could perhaps write to you with the routes and opportunities you have to build an investment case locally and get that onto the DfT slate, I’ll follow that up with official help.”

Following the Westminster Hall debate, ministers will now discuss whether to support a locally-led business case being drawn up for the proposed new bridge.

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