§ 2. Sir Roger Moate
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the maximum traffic flows over the Kingsferry bridge on the A249; what was its design capacity; what are the traffic flows on a typical two-lane motorway; and what steps he is taking to speed up construction of a second crossing of the Swale.
§ The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Robert Key)
There are about 26,000 vehicles a day; design capacity figures are no longer readily available. The traffic flows are equivalent to 33,500 vehicles a day. The priority given to the Iwade to Queensborough improvement will depend on the outcome of the road programme review.
§ Sir Roger Moate
I thank my hon. Friend and his officials for the sterling work that they have done in bringing forward this project, even to the planning stage. Does he understand, however, that as up to 26,000 vehicles a day go over the single lifting bridge, the only means of access to the Isle of Sheppey, and as there was an electrical failure a couple of weeks ago, this is a transport crisis waiting to happen? Will he please try to ensure that the construction of the second crossing is a matter not just of local priority but of national priority?
§ Mr. Key
It is clear that the vast majority of people who replied to our consultation exercise are in favour of the scheme and wish it to proceed as swiftly as possible. Sheppey is an environmentally sensitive area, but the needs of industry and of the local population are also great. We shall have to consider the scheme in the light of those factors.