Striking first look at proposed £1.2bn tunnel between Isle of Wight and M27

THIS is the first look at a proposed £1.2bn tunnel that would connect the Isle of Wight with the M27.

Friday, 19th May 2017, 5:13 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:40 pm
jpns-20-05-17-007 CREDIT PIC cgi tunnel madness rep lc Artists impression of the Solent Freedom Tunnel portal at Whippingham, IOW. MUST CREDIT Able Connections Ltd The Able Connections proposal is to create a new North-South axis through the centre of the Solent region by constructing a tunnel from the M27 east of junction 9 to the Whippingham roundabout on the Isle of Wight, with an additional access intersection 'cut and cover' portal near the mainland coast between Browndown and Meon. (options being discussed). The scheme brings a range of benefits to the region, including a step change in the connectivity of the Solents emerging mass transit public transport network, reduced highway congestion, reduced HGVs in city centres, new habitat for wildlife and public amenity, agglomeration benefits for industries in the Aerospace, Marine Defence and Composites sectors and other major employers in south Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, as well as improved accessibility for tourists to the island. The scheme

The new ‘concept image’ comes from Able Connections Ltd, which is pushing for a feasibility study to be commissioned into bringing the vision of a fixed link to life.

Under the company’s ambitious plans, two dual-carriageways – one from Whippingham to a location between Warsash and Browndown and another connecting traffic to Junction 9 of the M27 would be built.

An independent poll of thousands of people – 87 per cent were islanders – found last month that 3,921 of around 5,000 people wanted a feasibility study into plans for a fixed link and 3,866 people believed further options to ferry travel should be explored.

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Carl Feeney, director of Able Connections Ltd said: ‘This scheme would bring a range of benefits to the region, such as a step change in the connectivity of the Solent’s emerging mass transit public transport network, reduced highway congestions and reduced HGVs in city centres.

‘The scheme has the potential to be largely self-funding and the benefits to the island are enormous with the impacts and benefits on the mainland side easily as large.’

Mr Feeney stated that the scheme would help tackle congestion within the Gosport peninsula and that the group had met with various councils and MPs to gain support for the ambitious project.

He added: ‘This CGI is intended to portray the opportunities that this project can facilitate for both islanders and those on the mainland too.’

Julie Jones-Evans, the independent candidate to be Isle of Wight MP has backed the company’s call for a feasibility study to be commissioned labelling the idea of a fixed link as a ‘divisive subject’.

She said: ‘We need to have the government-funded feasibility study to enable an informed and reasonable debate on this most divisive subject. It may show that it is not possible but until we have all the facts, how can we move forward and away from the situation?’