RESIDENTS have accused the Scottish Government of failing to apply proper controls to contractors currently building the Forth Replacement Crossing.
An umbrella group representing communities south of the river close to the £1.6 billion project are demanding tighter supervision after suffering noise and flooding, and claim the work has made their lives a misery.
Bridge Replacement Interests Group South (Brigs) said contractors’ lorries had broken the speed limit, tailgated other vehicles and covered roads with mud.
Project chiefs have already revealed that several of the drivers involved have been sacked.
Brigs, which includes community councils in South Queensferry, Kirkliston and Newton, and several residents groups, called for a “big shift in culture” to avert further problems during the remaining three-and-a-half years of the project.
Chairman Doug Tait said the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, which is responsible for the scheme – the country’s biggest for a generation – must urgently ensure its contractors were adhering to agreed working regulations.
He said the main problems have been with the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC)consortium, which won the project’s main, £790 million contract, and comprises Spanish firm Dragados, Hochtief of Germany, American Bridge International, and Scottish company Morrison Construction.
Mr Tait said South Queensferry residents had been furious with the way Transport Scotland and contractors handled a series of flooding incidents caused by construction work, and the failure to instal the noise- reduction measures which had been promised.
There has also been anger at the “extreme level” of dust and dirt from lorries, especially on the A904, from oil shale being moved from a bing in West Lothian to a new embankment north of the bridge.
Mr Tait said: “These regulations to protect communities need to be applied. If they are not, FCBC are going to carry on doing what they are doing.
“For months the state of the A904 has been raised with FCBC but Transport Scotland should have brought everyone round the table to solve it. Transport Scotland does not appear to understand the terms ‘consultation’ and ‘engagement’.”
Transport Scotland pledged to “closely monitor” its contractors. A spokesman said: “FCBC have discussed issues relating to road cleanliness and driver behaviour with their material suppliers and have undertaken to review and improve their procedures, particularly to minimise spillage from delivery vehicles.
“Notwithstanding this, both FCBC and their supplier have undertaken to clean the A904 in the vicinity of Queensferry twice a month.
“This development was explained to members of the south community forum.
“Transport Scotland recognise the concerns raised by the community and will continue to closely monitor this situation.”
FCBC referred all enquiries to Transport Scotland.