The French operator of the Channel Tunnel has given the Boris bridge proposal a boast, by writing a letter to the UK prime minster in support of a second permanent connection between England and France.
The letter was sent in response to a proposal made by foreign secretary Boris Johnson, that a 22-mile-long bridge should be built across the English Channel. It was shortly after dubbed the Boris bridge.
Boris Johnson first suggested the crossing
Johnson reportedly made the suggestion during an Anglo-French summit on 18 January 2018. During the meeting he is understood to have said that England and France only being connected by the Eurostar rail tunnel was “ridiculous”.
Although the idea was initially ridiculed by several industry figures, Eurotunnel’s letter makes it clear that a second permanent connection between the two countries is already part of the company’s plans.
“The idea of a second fixed link is something that we regularly consider in our long term plans, and we would be delighted to engage with your officials to explore the possibility further,” Gounon’s letter continues.
Eurotunnel has first option on second link
Eurotunnel has also pointed out the company, which operates the only permanent link between the countries, has the first option to build any second link between England and France.
The creation of a future second link between the two countries was included in the terms of the Treaty of Canterbury and the Concession Agreement, which were both drawn up in 1986 to set out the terms for the Channel Tunnel.
At its narrowest point, the English Channel is around 20 miles across, which is a shorter distance that the world’s current longest bridge over water – the 26-mile Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in China.
However, any bridge over the channel would be complicated by the fact that the waterway is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. While a bridge may be possible, Eurotunnel’s letter does state that a bridge was not chosen for the first crossing due to “safety and environmental reasons”.
Following Johnson’s original proposal Alan Dunlop, founder of Alan Dunlop Architects, proposed a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland, which was subsequently backed by the Democratic Unionist Party.
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