WORCESTER’S MP has backed a bid by the city council’s Labour leadership for a new river bridge – but admits he fears it is “unlikely” to happen.
Robin Walker said it would be “wonderful” if the letter from Councillor Adrian Gregson to the Prime Minister made a difference, but believes the costs will put it out of reach.
As your Worcester News revealed on Tuesday, Cllr Gregson has contacted David Cameron to suggest the Government should pay towards a new River Severn crossing after the floods closed Worcester Bridge.
The council’s Labour leader said independent traders had suffered after the rising waters shut the only bridge crossing in the city.
But Mr Walker, who was also sent the letter, said he thought the scheme was unlikely to be completed.
“It was a perfectly sensible letter, the only thing I would dispute was the ‘if money is no object’ view as the Prime Minister clearly said that in relation to flooding victims,” he said.
“If the Prime Minister reads it and says ‘here’s the money for a new bridge’ then wonderful, but I don’t think it’s likely to happen.
“The only way we can get the money for it is if Worcestershire County Council makes a bid to the DFT (Department for Transport), David Cameron can’t pay for it and nor can the city council.”
He also said he strongly backs the stance of County Hall, which is focusing on dualling the A4440 Southern Link Road instead.
The county council has shelved old proposals for a Northern Relief Link Road in favour of creating a £38 million plan to partdual the notorious A4440 in south Worcester.
“The council is trying to plough on with dualling the Southern Link Road and that’s something I’m in favour of addressing,” he said.
The county council has effectively ruled out a Northern Relief Link Road because of the estimated costs of at least £160 million.
Work on dualling the A4440 stretch from Whittington island to the Ketch roundabout will finish by 2019, and the council then wants to focus on getting funds in place for carrying out the same work on Carrington Bridge.