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Rail Bridge Upgrades

Volume 682: debated on Thursday 22 October 2020

What steps his Department is taking to support local communities in meeting the cost of upgrades to rail bridges to tackle congestion. (907928)

Local authorities in England have benefited from this year’s £1.7 billion transport infrastructure investment fund to repair and improve bridges, as well as the £12 billion local growth fund. Future funding will be subject to the current spending review.

Crewe is proud of its heritage as a historic railway town, but it does create challenges. It is criss-crossed by railway lines, with some very old and narrow bridges that create quite enormous congestion. The cost of replacing them sits outside the ordinary maintenance and repair budget. Will the Minister explain what the process might be to get support for such big capital expenditure and agree to meet me to discuss, for example, replacing Earle Street bridge.

I remember the layout of Crewe very well from walking around it in a by-election a few years ago. As my hon. Friend knows, the future arrival of HS2 in the town provides a unique opportunity for Crewe to undertake a comprehensive review of its transport infrastructure requirements. I encourage my hon. Friend to continue to engage with local partners, agreeing priority projects that will facilitate growth and address the traffic constraints he outlined. They can form part of the discussions he would like to have with us. I would be delighted to meet him, as would the Minister of State, Department for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson), who has responsibility for HS2.