Proposals - April 2005
Proposal to build a Second Bridge
few years, we hear of proposals to build a second Forth Bridge.
latest proposals come from FETA (Forth Estuary Transport Authority) who
have announced that they intend to press ahead with plans to build a new
bridge. They envisage that the cost might be £640m and that tolls on
the existing bridge may have to be raised from £1 to about £3 for a return
crossing, to pay for the new bridge.
expected that if a second bridge were to be built it would be to the
west of the current bridge and would it would be designed with dedicated
bus lanes and the ability to carry trams as well as road traffic.
Opponents claim that a 2nd bridge would be likely to increase the number
of cars travelling to and from Edinburgh and the associated congestion.
Fife Council is in favour of a 2nd bridge. Conservation groups in
Edinburgh and all of Edinburgh's Councillors oppose the proposals.
The bridge would need the backing of the Scottish Executive before it
could be built.
Edinburgh Evening News: 29 April 2005, pp. 1, 2.
Edinburgh Evening News: 30 April 2005, p.7
Proposals - May 2005
How long will the present Forth Bridge survive?
announced on 4 May 2005 that during recent inspection of the bridge,
corrosion had been found in the main cables of the existing Forth Bridge.
The bridge was opened in 1964 with an expected life of 120 years. A
full inspection of the cables is required before the extent of the damage
is known, but there is now some concern that the bridge may last for
only another 20 years.
bridge initially carried 4 million vehicles a year. Now the traffic
has increased to 24 million vehicles a year.
views have been expressed about the probable extent of any damage by both
sides - those in favour of and against a new bridge. A full report
on the condition of the cables is due to be published in 2006.
been estimated that if a decision were taken now to build a second bridge,
it would be 12 years before it could open.
Edinburgh Evening News: 4 May 2005, pp. 1, 4, 5
Edinburgh Evening News: 5 May 2005, p.5.
Edinburgh Evening News:12 May 2005, p.11.
Forth Road Bridge
- The Latest Proposals
Update - October 2005
Forth Road Bridge was designed to cope with 12 million vehicles per day. Over the
40 years since it opened in 1964,, traffic has increased from 4 million to 24 million vehicles per year.
second road bridge is built, it will probably be a short distance to the
west of the present Forth Road Bridge.
campaign in favour of a new bridge was given a boost in 2005 when some
corrosion was found in the main cables of the present bridge and the
bridge operators, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA)
announced that the bridge might have to close as early as 2013.
November 2005, FETA revised this prediction. This prediction was
revised by FETA in November 2005 to "estimated dates of 2014
for heavy vehicles and 2019 for all vehicles."
However, on 11 Nov 2005, the Transport Minister, Tavish Scott, said
that he would not be rushed into any decision and ordered an independent
of the report on the state of the bridge.
News: 11 December 2005, p.6
Updates - January 2006
Campaign for the new bridge are pressing the Scottish Parliament for a
decision. They claim that a decision must be made quickly if
escalating costs are to be avoided because they soon expect all available
labour to be taken up on projects for the 2012 London Olympics.
estimated that to build a new bridge now, the cost would be £600m and
construction would take 11 years.
on the state of the existing Forth Road Bridge is due to be given to the
Transport Minister at the end of January 2006.
Evening News: January 21, 2006: p.11
McConnell, First Minister in the Scottish Parliament is awaiting the
results of an independent report on the state of the Forth Road Bridge
before making any decision on the subject of a second bridge across the
this has not stopped Labour MPs from commenting on the subject.
Chancellor Gordon Brown (MP for Kirkcaldy and
Cowdenbeath) and Alastair Darling (MP for and
Edinburgh South West, Scottish Secretary and Secretary of State for
Transport) have both been speaking of the need for a second
crossing during their campaigning for the forthcoming by-election in
Dunfermline and West Fife.
Evening News: January 24, 2006: p.5
Updates - May 2006
How long will the present bridge survive? -
Following investigations in 2005, it was thought that the present bridge
might have to be closed to lorries by 2013 and to all other traffic by
2019, as a result of "irreversible corrosion" in the main cables.
following a more detailed study it is now believed that if a solution to
the corrosion cannot be found, the bridge may have to be closed to lorries
at some time between 2013 and 2018 and to all other traffic at some time
between 2019 and 2024.
been suggested that, rather than build a second bridge at Queensferry at a
possible cost of £1 billion, it might be feasible to build an
"immersed tube" tunnel across the Firth of Forth at a cost of around
politicians, Edinburgh's Chamber of Commerce and Forth Estuaries Transport
Authority (FETA) have all said that they would welcome further
investigation into the 'tunnel' proposals.
Evening News: May 16, 2006: p.6
Updates - August 2006
A Tunnel under the Forth?
campaign has been launched to build a tunnel under the Firth of Forth,
instead of second road bridge over the water.
Tunnel Action Group (Forth TAG), is a South Queensferry Acton Group, led
by engineer, John Carson, former head of Miller Civil Engineering.
The group is lobbying for a 'tube tunnel' to be built in dry dock at
Rosyth, then floated and sunk into place.
of the number of houses around the existing Forth Road Bridge, and for
geological reasons, it is suggested that the tunnel should be to the west
of the Road Bridge, possibly extending from Pattiesmuir (near Rosyth in
Fife) to Philipstoun in West Lothian.
Evening News: July 25, 2006: p.6
Updates - September 2006
New Bridge or Tunnel
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and Fife Chamber of Commerce have joined
forces in campaigning for a new Forth crossing, a bridge or tunnel, to be
Evening News: September 20 2006: p.8
Updates - December 2006
Tunnel gains Support
more than ten years' of pressure for a new crossing of the Firth of Forth
between Edinburgh and Fife, the Scottish Executive is expected to make a
decision within the next few weeks.
Engineers, politicians, motoring groups and business leaders are all now
thought to favour a tunnel.
Estuary Transport Authority (currently responsible for the operation of
the Forth Road Bridge) and the Labour leadership are believed to oppose
estimated that a "tube tunnel" could be built for £480m.
Similar tunnels are also proposed under the Tyne in England and under the
Shannon in Ireland.
building of a second crossing, whether bridge or tunnel would cause
concern to some over the amount of additional traffic that might be
generated, particularly in West Edinburgh.
Evening News: December 2006
Updates - February 2007
Technical Report - Corrosion
Transport Scotland technical reports published on February 14 have
- The main cables of the Forth Bridge have
lost between 8% and 10% of their strength due to corrosion
- If this rate of corrosion continues, the
cables may fall below an acceptable safety level by
Scottish Parliament Support for a New Crossing
Transport Minister, Tavish Scott has announced:
- The Scottish Executive's will
support a new crossing.
- A decision on the final design and route
will be announced in Summer 2007.
Structures suggested are:
- A new suspension bridge to the west of
the current bridge. This is currently the favoured option. It
may take up to 6 years to build.
- A cable stay bridge. This may
take up to 5 1/2 years to build.
- A tunnel. This may take about 7
years to build
Routes proposed for the new crossing have been
narrowed down from five to the following three:
- West route: from an area to the
east of Limekilns in Fife to a point west of Hopeton.
- Central route: close to, and to the west
of, the existing Road Bridge, joining the southern shore of the Firth of
Forth at Port Edgar,
- East route: from the Inverkeithing
area of Fife to the Dalmeny area.
Evening News: January February 15, 2007: p.8 AND Metro
February 15, 2007, p.4
Update - April 2007
Petition against a New Crossing
400 residents in Queensferry have signed a petition calling for a tunnel
to be built instead of a bridge. Another 400 have signed a petition
calling for neither to be built.
have expressed concern about the visual impact of a new bridge,
disturbance during its construction and the amount of extra traffic that
it would be likely to generate.
Edinburgh Evening News: April 3,
Update - June 2007
Scottish Parliament Ministers are expected to
announce in Parliament, next week, that the Forth crossing is to be a
bridge, not a tunnel, because geological problems and safety restrictions
on gradients would mean that the tunnel would have to emerge much futher
Edinburgh Evening News: June 22,
Update - July 2007
Port Edgar Marina
Officials of the Port Edgar Yacht Club have
expressed concern that if a new bridge is built across the Forth to the
west of the existing Forth Road Bridge, this could scupper plans for a
£15m development at Port Edgar.
Edinburgh City Council had previously been
looking for a developer who would work with them to build several hundred
new houses on neighbouring land, build new piers and training rooms, and
increase the number of berths at Port Edgar from 320 to 500.
Edinburgh Evening News: July 7, 2007,
Update - August 2007
A Bridge or Tunnel?
John Swinney, Finance Secretary, denied that any
final decision had been made on whether a bridge or tunnel should be
built. He said that a final decision will be made by the Scottish
Parliament's Executive in Autumn 2007.
An exhibition of the options is to be on display
at several locations in Edinburgh. For further details see the
Crossing web site.
Edinburgh Evening News: August 21,
Queensferry, campaigners for a tunnel claim to have surveyed 216 people as
they left the Forth Replacement Crossing exhibition and found 85%
of those leaving the exhibition to be in favour of a tunnel.
Transport Scotland has recommended building a
bridge. This might cost £1.7bn and take 6 years to build. The
exhibition estimates that a tunnel might cost up to £2.3bn and take
up to 7.5 years to build.
Edinburgh Evening News: August 30,
Update - September 2007
Discussions continue as the most appropriate new
crossing (if any) over the Firth of Forth, ahead of
- A west Fife-based group,
'Stay on Forth'
has been set up campaigning for people to
accept the recommendations of Transport Scotland that a suspension bridge
costing £1.7 billion should be built.
They claim that the case being presented by the
tunnel campaigners, 'Forth TAG'
has been misleading.
- A third group
(no name given)
is expected to b e launched next week, campaigning for improved public
transport, rather than any new Forth crossing.
Edinburgh Evening News: September 10,
Update - December 2007
Finance Minister, John Swinney, yesterday gave
approval to a new cable stayed-style bridge to be built to the west of the
Forth Road Bridge at a cost of between £3.2bn and £4.2 bn. It is
scheduled to open in 2016.
£453m of the new bridge budget has been set aside
for light rail, guided bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes.
MSP Alex Johnstone, Tory transport spokesman,
said that he had been in discussion with ferry operators to see if they
would be able to provide a temporary ferry service to Fife for heavy goods
vehicles in the event of the Forth Road Bridge being closed to these
vehicles before the new bridge opens.
There have been fears that the Forth Road Bridge
might have to be closed to heavy goods vehicles as early as 2013.
A ferry might operate between Portobello and
Kirkcaldy, or could use the ports of Leith or Rosyth.
Edinburgh Evening News: December 20,
Update - June 2008
Forth Road Bridge - Condition
A new report from FETA (Forth Estuary Transport
Authority) reveals that the Forth Road Bridge is not so badly corroded as
had been feared. It should now be possible to keep the bridge open
to heavy goods vehicles until at least 2017.
A dehumidification system is due to be installed
in an attempt to halt the corrosion of the cables. If this attempt
fails, it is expected that weight restrictions will need to be imposed on
the bridge some time between 2017 and 2021.
New Road Bridge
Construction of a new road bridge is due to begin
in 2011. The bridge is due to be completed in 2016.
Edinburgh Evening News: June 18,
Update - December 2008
A Narrower Bridge
The Scottish Parliament has released revised
plans for a new bridge. They now propose a narrower bridge with two
lanes in each direction. It would be used by cars and HGVs.
Buses, cyclists and walkers would have to continue using the existing
Making the bridge narrower approximately halves
the expected cost of the bridge, reducing the likely cost to the range
1.72 bn to 2.34 bn.
The Metro: December 11, 2008: p.27.
Edinburgh Evening News: January 8,
2009 (comment on the bridge)
Update - February 2009
A New Bridge?
Plans for a
new bridge across the Forth were revealed by the Scottish Government in
December 2008, but Edinburgh City Council bosses have criticised the
government for lack of consultation.
The council's Director of Development, Dave
Anderson has submitted a report to councillors. This calls for a
decision on whether or not to build a new bridge to be deferred until
2011, by which time it will be known whether or not the dehumidification
work on the current bridge is successful.
However, the Scottish Parliament wishes to
continue to press ahead with the new bridge, arguing that 2011 will be too
late to take a decision.
Edinburgh Evening News: June 18,
Update - September 2009
Scottish Parliament Bill
New Bill Announced
The Scottish Government, today, released its
program for legislation for the coming year. First Minister, Alex
Salmond announced that one of the 13 proposed new laws would pave the way
for a new bridge, at a cost of between £1.8bn and £2.2bn, due to be
completed by 2016.
Edinburgh Evening News: September 3,
New Bill Criticised
Labour Transport Spokesman, Des McNulty, said
there were still too many unresolved issues over the proposed new bridge,
- How would it be financed?
- Why does in not now include a light rail
or public transport lane?
- What is the long term future of the
existing Forth Road Bridge?
Edinburgh Evening News: October 12,
Update - October 2009
Cost to be Investigated
The Transport and Finance committees of the
Scottish Parliament have both been asked to investigate how Transport
Scotland has calculated a £2bn cost for the new Forth crossing, making it
one of the most expensive crossing in the world.
Conservative, Labour and Green Party MSPs are all
quoted expressing concern over the costs. The City of Edinburgh
council has previously suggested that any decision should be put off until
2011, when it will be known whether or not the the dehumidification work
on the existing Forth Road Bridge has successfully extended its lifespan.
A recent study was quoted , in which the the
average cost of major road bridges around the world was less than £200,000
a meter, compared to £750,000 a meter for the new Forth Road Bridge.
Transport Scotland has responded saying that their estimated costs allow
for the large spans required over the shipping lanes in the Forth and
allow for the infrastructure cost of associated new roads.
Edinburgh Evening News: October 12,
Scottish Parliament's First Minister, Alex
Salmond, had asked the British Government to allow Scottish capital
expenditure for future years to be brought forward in order to help
finance the new crossing.
The British Government has turned down this
request, but Alex Salmond is now hoping that a block of 20 SNPs in the
next British Parliament, particularly if there is a hung parliament, might
be able to influence the government to change its mind.
Edinburgh Evening News: October 17,
Update - November 2009
Opposition to the New Bridge
Yesterday, the Scottish Parliament published the
Bill for the proposed new bridge over the Forth, a 2.7km cable-stayed
bridge with three mono-towers, having 2 lanes in each
direction and hard shoulders.
This publication comes amid some growing
opposition. Friends of the Earth and the Greens are amongst those
claiming that the new £2bn will turn out to be a costly mistake.
Concern over the cost of the bridge has also been
- Labour transport spokesman, Charlie
- Tory transport spokesmen, Alex Johnstone.
- Edinburgh West Lib Dem MSP, Margaret
Smith, whose constituency includes South Queensferry
Some early estimates of the cost of the new
bridge had been as high as £4bn, but the Government halved this by:
- cutting the number of lanes in each
direction from 3 to 2
- designating the existing bridge for
public transport use, rather than incorporate bus lanes or trams into the
- dropping the proposal for a direct
link to the M9 motorway, bypassing Newton village, so leaving concerns
about the levels of traffic.
Edinburgh Evening News: November 18,