The city and county need a new Trent bridge urgently, a senior figure has said.
Roads have been gridlocked for days, and journeys which should take minutes are taking hours, after the partial closure of the A52 bridge.
The A52 closure has put enormous pressure on the existing bridges, with severe traffic building on both sides of Trent Bridge.
Three road bridges currently serve the city – Trent Bridge, Lady Bay Bridge and the A52 at Clifton Bridge which is currently partially closed.
Further downstream are Gunthorpe Bridge and the A46 bridge, while upstream there are bridges at Sawley and the M1.
Even 16 years ago, Nottinghamshire County Council agreed there was a need for the bridge to the west of Radcliffe on Trent.
But those plans have stagnated, and no plans are currently in the pipeline.
Now, the leader of Gedling Borough Council, John Clarke, has said the whole area urgently needs a new bridge ‘for the future’.
Councillor Clarke, who represents Netherfield for Labour, has long advocated a new bridge, and says the last few days demonstrate just how important it is, and how close to capacity the current bridges are running.
He said: “It’s not a political thing any more, this is about the livelihood and the economy of the city and county.
“Two hours it took me yesterday to get from County Hall to Carlton. It was mayhem.
“I think the best place to build it is at the back of Victoria Industrial Park and bring the road up to Colwick Loop Road.
“It would take and divert traffic from having to go towards the city.
“I think we have got to be bold and ambitious with this, and build a bridge for the future that can take all forms of transport, with a vision for the tram eventually.
“I think it would be a massive boost, I think it would be as powerful and transformative as the A453.
“Yet we’re putting our collective heads in the sand and doing nothing.
“The economic cost for the city of the last few days will be in the millions, with people not getting to work on time, goods not arriving and people not going out. It’s been a clear reminder.
“This is the perfect time to put pressure on to build the bridge, the Prime Minister has said he wants a ‘infrastructure revolution’, and this is doable, it’s not quite spade ready but it’s already there.
“If we’re going to keep this city and county’s economy moving then we need this bridge as soon as possible. We can’t afford not to build it.
“Because why come and invest in Nottingham when you can’t get into it?”
However Nottingham City Council’s transport boss Adele Williams gave the age-old proposal a luke-warm reception, saying building more roads was ‘not necessarily’ the best way forward.
Councillor Williams, who represents Sherwood for Labour, said: “The current situation with Clifton Bridge is very unusual and while it shows how vulnerable Nottingham’s road network is to becoming gridlocked, building our way out of it with more roads is not necessarily the answer.
“Our focus is on providing viable alternatives to using cars to get into the city.
“For example, we are currently awaiting a Government announcement on a bid for funding which among other things will expand our park and ride facilities, encouraging more people to leave their cars outside the city and take public transport in – thereby reducing the amount of traffic on our roads.
“The only extra bridge over the river we have in our thinking at the moment is a cycle and pedestrian bridge between Colwick and Lady Bay.”