The next steps in building a new road bridge over the Wye to the east of Hereford, and accompanying link road, are expected to be approved this week.

Initially costed at £56 million, the bridge project will, with the backing of Herefordshire Council’s cabinet, move to preparation of a business case and formal planning application to be put to the Government.

This will present the strategic and economic reasons for the scheme, detailing its technical feasibility, constraints and mitigation measures, and setting out a schedule and detailed cost estimates.

But even with Government backing, it could then take up to four years to design, complete compulsory purchases, and prepare documentation before construction can begin.


The council will already have spent £1 million from its own reserves by the end of this financial year on preparatory work on the project.

According to the council's newly published draft masterplan for the city: “The crossing would be designed to also provide a safe and desirable connection for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Cabinet member for transport Coun John Harrington said: “The eastern bypass is very much go.

“We will have an options appraisal setting out possible routes by early summer. We will then progress it as quickly as possible.”

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He added: “I said before that we could get an eastern bridge in five years. I now think that’s unrealistic. But it should be complete before the end of the decade.”

He said it would bring “a 30 per cent reduction in central Hereford congestion, compared with the 7 per cent reduction that the [cancelled] western bypass would have brought”.

“We need to work out how to move people better around the city,” he said.

Conservative MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire Jesse Norman said: “I have campaigned for an eastern bridge for 15 years. It’s something all parties can unite around.”

He added that, in the run-up to local elections on May 4, Conservative candidates “will be campaigning in favour of” also bringing back the western bypass and bridge plan, without revealing his own view on this contentious ongoing issue.

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