Official: £2bn new Forth road bridge un-necessary

3 March 2013



With work on the so-called Forth Replacement Crossing safely past the point of no return, the Scottish Nationalist government has finally admitted it has no case for building a new bridge. After wasting millions on the project, engineers have halted the corrosion alleged to have threatened the existing bridge’s safety, and have strengthened the weakened cable ends in bedrock.

The whole charade was an elaborate confidence trick played by Alex Salmond, John Swinney and the compliant Scottish media, which failed to question the project. Worst of all, it was waved through by a near unanimous parliament, with the honourable exception of two Green MSPs. When this journalist did manage to squeeze in a newspaper report that the chief engineer in charge of bridge safety was “highly confident” that cable drying would stop the mild corrosion affecting the bridge, politicians on all sides joined forces to rubbish the story and brief against him. Yet my story published in the Sunday Herald was vindicated last month when the chief engineer, Barry Colford revealed that the corrosion had indeed stopped. And last week he quietly added the final nail in the coffin of Alex Salmond’s shabby deception: the anchorages of each end of the main cables had, after all, been found to be undamaged and there was henceforth no threat to the long-term stability of the bridge.

31.01.13: Steve Bell on the wording of the Scottish independence referendum

The guilty man

It will shock Scottish taxpayers and voters to be told that despite draconian cuts in public services, causing widespread suffering and hardship, the government thought it necessary to concoct a bogus scare-story to force through a shameful £2bn gravy-train project for its friends in banking, construction and media. One day perhaps the truth will come out concerning Salmond, Swinney, the clown-minister and former transport secretary Stewart Stevenson, and how they – and opposition parties – conspired with a willing media to foist a new road bridge on the economically devastated community of Scotland. When it does, we must hope that they are still around to serve the punishment they richly deserve. In the meantime, we must challenge them to answer the following questions:

1. Why did the government not believe the chief engineer’s assessment (never denied) of a “high degree of confidence” that cable drying would arrest the corrosion?

2. If the government was worried the corrosion might not be halted, why didn’t it replace the cable at the bargain price of £120m?

3. Why did the chief engineer alter his predecessor’s report which found that the cables could have been replaced without closures of the bridge?

4. Why is there no cycleway or footway on the new bridge, meaning active travel will remain impossible in bad weather?


6 Responses to “Official: £2bn new Forth road bridge un-necessary”

  1. juliusbeezer Says:

    What’s this point of no return you’re on about? Kindly do not allow false aviation metaphors to corrupt your otherwise admirable exposition. Construction projects can be halted at any time, as Edinburgh residents very well know 😉

  2. brucewhitehead Says:

    Morning M. Beezer. They will argue that they’ve spent so much money on piers, foundations and approach roads that it would be a false economy to halt it. I kind of see that, but they could mothball it indefinitely. Plus I am being realistic for once; it is going ahead unless public finances completely collapse. I suppose that could happen…. to the barricades!! Mes amis!!

  3. kevin green Says:

    Good job they never listened to the likes of you you window licker!

  4. brucewhitehead Says:

    Funny how they confirm the old bridge is safe; everyone starts to ask why they needed a new one; and suddenly a new fatal fault is found… Wake up Kevin Green

  5. Paul Says:

    Bruce Whitehead – you’re a muppet. Suddenly a fatal flaw is “found”. Wake up. The current bridge is clearly not up to the modern traffic standards – hence the need for a new one. Regardless of political party, this would have been the logical way for things to develop. Get off of your opinionated high horse and realise that, whilst this article may have had some relevance when published, now in 2015, it’s utter garbage.

  6. brucewhitehead Says:

    Please comment as you would in person, ie politely.
    I am indeed a muppet Paul; probably Stradlater or suchlike! But you’re mistaken on a couple of points: the old bridge is perfectly able for heavier traffic. The cable drying process was always going to arrest corrosion and the design life was 125 years. The government has accepted that the cable corrosion has ceased and so it’s excuse for a £2bn replacement was invalid.
    I agree the truss defect seems real enough but we can be forgiven a little scepticism in view of the points above. So why dud John Swinney shelve the remedial work?
    What’s an opinionated high horse Paul? Anyone who disagrees with you?

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