The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed news that the Scottish Government will introduce legislation to enable the construction of a new bridge over the Firth of Forth. However, the leading trade body warns that funding problems surrounding this key part of Scottish infrastructure need to be resolved immediately so that work can commence on the new bridge as soon as possible.
Gavin Scott, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, said:
"It is pleasing to see that the Forth Replacement Crossing is on course with the announcement of this procedural bill, and this is recognition from the Scottish Government of the role the Forth crossing plays to Scotland’s infrastructure. However, it is absolutely vital that public funding for this bridge is secured so that it can go ahead without further delay."
The problems of corrosion on the current Forth Road Bridge are well documented and, if the dehumidification work is not successful, the bridge could be closed to goods vehicles by 2016 – well before the replacement is due to be finished. The adverse effects on the economy of Fife and Scotland could be dire.
"Time is running out and we must start construction of the new bridge now as we won’t know if works on the existing bridge will have been successful until 2012. With the margin of safety rapidly diminishing, goods vehicles could face a real problem and be left with no means of crossing the river."