Boris Johnson's Ireland-Scotland bridge plan endorsed by engineering experts
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Boris Johnson's Ireland-Scotland bridge plan endorsed by engineering experts

BORIS JOHNSON'S plans to build a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland have been given the 'thumbs-up' by a team of experts for who have described the idea as "feasible".

Expert engineers speaking to National Geographic have suggested that the structure would cost a lot more than the initial £15bn initially outlined by the Prime Minister, and admitted the job would be "more than a little" complicated.

But ultimately, they all agreed that it was technically possible and far from unrealistic to build the bridge.

The construction would follow two possible routes: a 12-mile crossing that spans the shortest gap between Torr Head and the Mull of Kintyre, and a 26-mile crossing from Portpatrick to Larne.

Scottish architect Alan Dunlop has insisted that the longer crossing would be the best option, due to the better road infrastructure on each side, and as the shorter crossing has more remote port locations.

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The length of the bridge however isn't the biggest challenge posed by the notion, it's the depth of the seabed along the potential routes.

In some places, it's up to 160m deep, which poses structural difficulties.

Mr Dunlop has proposed a cable-stayed or suspension bridge for the shallower sections and a floating pontoon-style bridge "tied to the seabed with cables" for the deeper sections.

"This would be a challenging proposition," he admitted.

"But we have the technology and the talent in Ireland and Scotland to create something as potentially brilliant as this."

As difficult an operation that this would be, Dunlop pointed to the 34-mile Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge as an example of how challenges can be overcome.

"That was designed and built to withstand typhoons. We have the engineering expertise to do that," he said.

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According to Dunlop, the estimated cost of the bridge would be between £15-20bn , but some of that could be clawed back should a toll system be put in place.

British structural engineer Ian Firth meanwhile believes the cost to be more in the region of £20-30bn.

He agrees with Mr Dunlop that choosing the longer route is the best option for the design, and while he also stressed that the sea depth would cause the biggest problem, he insists that the project is achievable.

"I'm convinced it's doable," he said. "It's not been done before but we've designed similar bridges."