Plans to build a new £20m lifting bridge in a Dorset harbour town have taken a step closer to reality.
The new bridge is set to cost an estimated £20m
The Borough of Poole has submitted a proposal for its Twin Sails Bridge to the Department for Transport.
It hopes the new bridge, a second harbour crossing which will link the town centre with Hamworthy, will help to reduce traffic congestion.
An eight-week consultation period will now take place which may be followed by a public inquiry next year.
The government is set to contribute £14m, while the rest will be funded by developers working in partnership with the Council.
Councillor Ron Parker, cabinet portfolio holder for the local economy, said: "We are at the stage where the Twin Sails Bridge is closer than ever and today marks the reaching of a significant milestone along the way.
"We still have a way to go with some tough hurdles ahead but never before has the bridge been more achievable. "
A final decision on the new bridge from the Secretary of State is expected in 2006 and the bridge is set to open in 2008 or 2009.