Scots top on costs

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When an American tourist told Basil Fawlty that he owned the “crummiest, shoddiest, worst-run hotel in the whole of western Europe”, Major Gowen, the gin-soaked retired resident, sprang to his landlord’s defence, exclaiming: “No! No, I won’t have that! There’s a place in Eastbourne.”

At the risk of sounding like the major, I would take issue with Neil Craig (Letters, 31 October) that the 28-mile Aberdeen bypass costs are world-beaters. In fact, they are as nothing to the scale of costs of the recently completed M74 extension.

Using Transport Scotland’s 
distance of five miles (8km) for that project and Audit Scotland’s total cost for the extension of £692 million, this works out at a world record cost of £138.4m per mile!

This must have come as a shock to Dr Stephen Ladyman, who as roads minister in 2006 stated in answer to a House of Commons question: “The average cost for constructing a mile of motorway is £29.9m.”

It is comforting to know that we can still be world-beaters; the M74 extension, the new Forth bridge, the Scottish Parliament, and last, but not least, the Edinburgh trams, confirm the old adage: “Wha’s like us?”

Tom Minogue

Victoria Terrace


Neil Craig is absolutely right about the excessive costs of the likes of the Aberdeen bypass and the new Forth crossing.

The Millau viaduct in France, the highest, longest, cable-stayed bridge anywhere, co-designed by Norman Foster and built by the French in only three years from 2001 to 2004, cost only €394 million. Just watch the video on YouTube.

We spend a substantial fraction of that simply in legal costs to get things started.

Where are you, Alex?

Peter Kent

Meikle Wartle