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Call for Isle of Wight tunnel study

Solent Tunnel

Pressure is building for a feasibility study to be carried out for a proposed fixed link tunnel connecting the Isle of Wight to the mainland.

Under the proposal a twin bored tunnel would connect the Isle of Wight and the mainland over an 11km long dual carrigeway. It would also incorporate traffic from the Gosport peninsula, taking it to within 900m of a new junction at the M27 and reducing congestion in the area.

On the Isle of Wight the tunnel portal will be built at Whippingham, East Cowes, while locations for two portals on the mainland have yet to be identified.

Currently the easiest way to access the Isle of Wight is by ferry. Supporters say the tunnel could ease traffic congestion on the mainland and provide more transport choice for residents, and bring economic benefits to the island.

But a feasibility study has yet to be secured, despite pressure from campaign group Pro-Link and the company set up to support the link, Able Connections.

“There is an impending general election. We’re not too sure which [local] candidate will win, but we’re expecting whoever wins to request that this study is done,” said Able Connections director Carl Feeney.

Initially a cost of £1.2bn was suggested, although Feeney now believes it could be higher. It has been suggested the link could be partly funded through a toll.

“It seem quite barmy right from the word go when you start talking to people about it because it’s such a massive project, but it’s only a massive project for the Isle of Wight,” said Feeney.

Able Connections is currently looking for investors for the project.

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