The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 13 September 2019 11:05cat

UK government considers building Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge

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Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge IrishNews

According to Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland is a feasible concept.

UK's government officials are investigating the potential plans and costs of such a project. Boris Johnson stated that the attempt could be accomplished at a cost of about $18.7 billion. According to the Prime Minister, the project would significantly improve the connection between England and Northern Ireland.

But the question is: how likely is it to construct such a challenging project?

Actually, the idea has been suggested before with 2 potential route solutions, one from Larne to Portpatrick and the other from Torr Head to Mull of Kintyre. Obviously, the total cost of the project is highly dependent on the route selected. The first solution would be cheaper but there are no reliable road networks in the suggested regions. The second route, "Portpatrick Project" would provide international links but despite the initial assumptions, some believe that it could cost up to $24.6 billion.

If the "Portpatrick Project" was qualified, a 35-kilometer bridge would be constructed over water. The attempt would be extremely challenging due to the water's depth and the extreme weather conditions. The bridge's piers would be the highest ever built. "Many long bridges have been built, but none across such a wide, deep and stormy stretch of water. For a great part of the 22-mile (35-kilometer) route, the water is more than 1,000 feet (305 meters) deep. It would require about 30 support towers at least 1,400 feet (427 meters) high to carry the road deck across the deepest part and above the shipping channel. In total the bridge would require 54 towers, of heights never achieved anywhere in the world," James Duncan, a retired offshore engineer from Edinburgh, stated. 

Despite the great difficulty of the endeavor, some believe that there is the opportunity to succeed and it's worth the risk. "Such a project could be potentially tremendous for the country and show us as a forward looking and thinking country," architect Alan Dunlop, a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), stated.

If realized, the structure will not be the longest ever constructed. Recorded in Guinness World Records, a 55-kilometer bridge located in China is the world's longest bridge over water. It connects Hong Kong and the city of Macau and is constructed to withstand winds of up to 340 km/h.

Sources: Channel4 BBC

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