Storms inspire dream of Western Isles tunnel

Paul Kelbie,Scotland Correspondent
Wednesday 07 February 2007 01:00

Violent storms this winter which disrupted ferries to the Western Isles, and fears that climate change will make the situation worse, have inspired a campaign to build a road tunnel between the Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland.

Local councillors, business leaders and residents are proposing an undersea link, which would be the longest road tunnel in the world. The Channel Tunnel, which opened in 1994, is 31 miles long, with just 23 miles under the sea, while the Western Isles road tunnel would be 41 miles long and almost entirely beneath the waves.

The project's supporters are considering two alternatives. The first is a 25-mile crossing from Benbecula to the northern tip of Skye, which already has a bridge to the mainland. The second is a 41-mile link between Stornoway on Lewis to Ullapool, Wester Ross. Either option would cost considerably more than the £10bn it took to build the Channel Tunnel.

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