The River Medina bridge – linking the east of the Island with routes north and west of Newport – will feature a toll and help cut traffic if it is built, say cabinet.
Building a bridge over the Medina is not an original idea, but it is one that Council leader, Councillor Dave Stewart is keen to make a reality, but even he admits – it needs work.
The IW Council cabinet said they were “actively considering” plans for a Stag Lane crossing in September, but didn’t say much more.
Now Cllr Stewart has said: “Stag Lane is very viable option on the west side”… as the council own the land and can cut land clear of MHI Vestas property.
The initial problem lies with where to end the bridge on the east side.
Stewart said: “On the east side, there’s a number of different issues. You’ve got the harbour and Newport FC are about to set up at the racecourse roundabout and that would attract vessels.”
Many have questioned where the council would get the millions in funding required for such a project.
Cllr Stewart responded: “We toll it, this isn’t a set figure, but let’s say a pound, even if it was two pounds, I’d still pay that. Once you’ve put a toll on, you can calculate roughly how much it will raise over 50 years. And once you’ve done that you can borrow the money to build it.
“I have yet to meet somebody who says ‘that’s an awful idea’. People just keep telling me it’s a good idea, but when are you going to do it?”
Traffic is the main driver for a crossing according to cabinet.
The leader added: “East Cowes is going to have enhanced traffic with the new Red Funnel cargo ferry service. We really don’t want any of that traffic in Newport, it’s bad enough now.”
Cllr Stewart has talked with Island Roads who, he says, can draw on experience in bridge building as they are part of a larger international infrastructure company.
He concluded: “It’s good for me to chat to them and say, ‘how would you approach this if you had the contract?’.
“It’s good for me to get some understanding of what this monster is that I’m talking about.”