SUPPORT is stronger than ever for a major cross-Solent tunnel link, a survey claims.
More than two-thirds said they were in favour of a £1.2 billion project in a survey approved by transport campaign group Pro-Link which has been lobbying to connect the mainland and the Isle of Wight for over two-and-a-half years.
The survey showed that more than 66 per cent of people were in favour of the tunnel, dubbed the Solent Freedom tunnel, while 29 per cent were against and 4.9 per cent undecided.
Campaigners claim the purpose of the study was to see whether islanders and mainlanders were in a favour of a feasibility study to assess whether a tunnel should be constructed under the Solent.
More than 5,000 residents responded to the survey which lasted six weeks.
Over 40 per cent of those who took part were aged between 30 and 50 while 18.4 per cent were aged between 20 and 30 while 16.9 per cent were aged over 60 years old.
A detailed report on the survey’s findings lasted more than 346 pages and highlighted key views from islanders and mainlanders on how the tunnel could impact the Solent economy and whether the project will get central government funding.
Carl Feeney, the chairman of the Pro-Link, said the results proved the Island should be better connected but insisted it is down to politicians to give the green light.
He said: “It is impossible for people to make an informed decision until there is a proper, impartial feasibility study which is what we want.
“The DFT is prepared to carry it out but the support for it is needed from the Isle of Wight Council. Constructive meetings have been held and I am hopeful for that support after the election.”
Councillor John Gilby, executive member for major contracts on Isle of Wight Council, said: “I will welcome any feasibility study that is carried out.
“The survey shows that there is some degree of support for the tunnel.
“I have spoken to many residents who agree that there
should be a feasibility study carried out to assess the potential impact.”
Councillor Sean Woodward, the leader of Fareham Borough Council added: “While admiring the enthusiasm of the supporters I believe the proposals have no prospect whatever of becoming reality both for the lack of funding from central government and the logistics of construction through and under Fareham.”
The link will consist of two different road tunnels, one from East Cowes on the Isle of Wight to a location between Warsash and Browndown near Gosport and another would connect traffic with a new junction on the M27.