Fifth Forth?

Posted by chdot on December 21, 2006

This photo shows the famous Forth Bridge. It’s only been in use since 1890 and there have been various worries over the years about rust and maintenance. Since the passing of RailTrack it seems that its future is safe.

Just upriver is the Road Bridge. The Queen opened it less than half a century ago. It has walk/cycle paths in both directions which are well used especially in June.

Unfortunately corrosion and increasingly heavy traffic loads mean that it may not be ‘fit for purpose’ for much longer. So there is increasing clamour for a replacement. At present another bridge is being built further inland at Kincardine close to the existing (1936) bridge. A new bridge at Queensferry would make it five, though some people favour a tunnel.

Today ‘sustainable transport’ sceptics have taken their stance. Paul Tetlaw of TRANSform Scotland said “If the existing bridge can’t be maintained then it is vital that any new crossing is a replacement of the existing bridge, and not additional to it. We need clarity on plans for the existing Forth Road Bridge. It is essential that there is complete transparency in the decision making process, and that all reports considered by the Scottish Cabinet are published in full.”

JUST IMAGINE – the roadways of the existing Forth Road Bridge just used for walking and cycling – THAT would a great ‘new’ facility!

Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, added, “Ministers must not approve any additional crossing that results in increased road capacity across the Forth. Doing so would increase traffic volumes and undermine Scotland’s climate change programme. If a replacement crossing is genuinely needed, a full Strategic Environmental Assessment must be undertaken to ensure that all reasonable alternatives are considered.”

Massive sums of money are already committed to large scale transport projects in and around Edinburgh – trams, new rail route to and under the airport. Airport expansion is planned and now the possibility/probability of another river crossing.

At a time of increasing evidence of Climate Change and general concerns about energy security, it can’t just be cyclists who would rather have potholes filled and a few more Safe Routes to School in place.

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