Downing Street has confirmed that a “range of officials” are examining the prospect of building a bridge to link Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The idea has been championed many times by Boris Johnson and work is now underway to scope out its potential – though Number 10 has not said how many civil servants have been assigned to the project.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said it was a “proper piece of work”.
He said: “The PM set out this was an idea which he believed could have some merit so, as a result of that, you would expect the government to be looking into it.”
“The PM is ambitious in terms of infrastructure projects. He’s looking at a wide range of schemes across the UK which could improve connectivity.”
When asked about the prospect of a “Boris bridge” in Parliament at the end of last year, Mr Johnson told MPs to “watch this space” and has previously estimated that such a project would “only cost about £15 billion”.
But others have put the cost nearer £20 billion, while experts have warned that problems could be posed by the depth of the Irish Sea and the presence of dumped military equipment.
The Garden Bridge in London never became a reality
One of the most likely routes for the bridge would be from Scotland’s Portpatrick to Larne in Northern Ireland, a distance of around 45km.
The Prime Minister has faced some ridicule for the plan, after a project he backed to create a leafy “garden bridge” across the River Thames never came to fruition with a bill surpassing £50 million.
Labour MP Angela Rayner tweeted: “My heart sinks when Boris Johnson and Bridges are mentioned in the same sentence, it would be cheaper to buy him a Lego set where he can play building bridges.”
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