As WE enter 2015, one of the most remarkable engineering constructions is nearing completion. Due to open in 2016, the Queensferry Crossing will serve travellers as yet another major crossing across the River Forth, sitting to the west of its two older neighbours.
The Forth Bridge, completed in 1890, rightfully claims the title of one of the wonders of the modern world. This massive construction was over-engineered following the Tay Bridge disaster, a collapse that claimed 75 lives on a bleak winter night on 28 December 1879.
The Forth Road Bridge, completed in 1964, dramatically opened up the north of Scotland to significantly more traffic, and so contributed greatly to our economy. With the gift of hindsight, this mighty construction was, perhaps, under-engineered. No-one could have foreseen the volume of traffic that has put such a strain on the bridge and resulted in the need for a second road crossing less than half a mile away.
The new Queensferry Crossing is being constructed using technology that wasn’t ever dreamt about 40 years ago. Only time will tell if it is over- or under- engineered.
So the landscape and seascape of Scotland will change, yet again, only a few miles from our capital city in 2015.
Perhaps the bridges give us some handy metaphors to help our relationships, personal, organisational even political, while crossing stormy waters?
The first Tay Bridge was badly engineered and was a disaster waiting to happen. Relationships built on weak foundations are always under threat.
While the Forth Bridge was over-engineered for understandable reasons it still demands regular maintenance. Even the most secure of relationships need constant attention.
The Forth Road Bridge has been well-maintained from the start but the hugely increased traffic it carries has taken its toll. Even the best relationships, it seems, suffer under increased pressure.
The new Queensferry Bridge is looking great and will ease the pressure on the old road crossing and should result in a much better traffic flow across the Forth.
A new relationship might seem very attractive but there are always fault lines to contend with … the unexpected will happen.