In the debate about a Morecambe Bay bridge, the one factor which never seems to get mentioned is a cost-benefit analysis regarding how many motorists this would actually affect.

In 2015, Highways England conducted a survey of traffic using the A590, from Park Road roundabout through to the M6 and found that on the day of the survey the largest number of vehicles travelling between Barrow and the M6 was in the three hours between 4pm to 7pm at 321 and in the reverse direction, between 7am and 10am, it was 285.

This is less than two vehicles per minute. The figures suggest that it would be totally unrealistic to build a bridge specifically to cope with such limited numbers.

A report published in 2016, the “West of M6 Connectivity Report”, emphasised the importance of the A590 and identified a number of potential developments which would substantially improve this road, including dual carriageways, roundabouts and a bypass around Ulverston.

Another suggestion considered within the report was a bridge across the Bay but this idea was not supported, failing to meet the minimum requirements of value for money, economic viability and feasibility.

Similarly in 2018 Transport for the North released its Strategic Transport plan and reference was made to the A590 and the requirement for improvements, including more dual carriageways and an Ulverston bypass. There was no reference to any bridge across Morecambe Bay.

It is worth noting that a major development, the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon scheme, was rejected by the government in 2018 on the grounds that the cost of the electricity to be generated couldn’t justify the overall costs of the scheme. Regarding costs, the new Forth Road Bridge, at 1.7 miles is said to have cost £1.3 billion and so a 10-mile Bay bridge could cost anything from £5billion to £7 billion.

Little seems to have been said about where such a bridge would come ashore but even a cursory look at the map would suggest that, while Rampside might be feasible, the Morecambe area is heavily developed on much of the shore-line and any bridge-works would be somewhat controversial, to say the least.

Jack Smith