ARUNDEL’S MP has called for a ‘beautiful’ bridge to be built across the River Arun as part of the construction of the Arundel bypass.
Nick Herbert made his remarks during an infrastructure debate in the House Commons on Monday.
Welcoming the Gover-nment’s announcement last week of funding for the Arundel bypass, Mr Herbert said: “I believe there is a powerful environmental argument for this bypass, but the design of this road and of a bridge across the River Arun would do a great deal to mitigate any concerns about the impact of the road on the aesthetics and beauty of the local area.
“The French have done this very well in the past in the provision of some of its national infrastructure.
“We could think of notoriously stunning bridges that have been built in France, such as the Millau viaduct over the River Tarn. That is a stunning piece of work by a British architect, and many would argue that it adds to the beauty of the area and does not detract from it.
“We should seek to achieve the same thing in the design of our roads infrastructure in the same way as the Victorians impressed us with their design of rail infrastructure – Brunel’s bridges, for example. In doing so, we would win much more public support for our roads proposals.”
Mr Herbert’s comments have not been welcomed by everyone. Arundel resident and retired engineer Philip Gadsby, a supporter of residents’ group Arundel SCATE, which is opposed to the bypass, said: “As yet, no scheme has been agreed after the required public consultation and as such the design of any part of the road improvements around Arundel is purely academic.
“If Nick Herbert’s desire is for a beautiful viaduct, such as the 343 metre one over the Tarn, that cost about €400million to build ten years ago, the cost of an over-two kilometre one for the Arun Valley would, on the face of it, be prohibitively expensive when the budget for the whole A27 improvement is £350million.”
Mr Herbert has not said a bridge would be needed to span the entire Arun Valley, from Crossbush to Ford, merely the River Arun.
The details of the stages and timings for delivering the bypass have yet to be set out by the Highways Agency, which is now required within the next months to produce a delivery plan covering all the schemes identified in the Government’s Road Investment Plan.