THE Forth Road Bridge is to reopen in the first week of January, one month after it was closed for urgent repairs, the operator of the crossing has confirmed.
Engineers are working towards a deadline of having the bridge open again for traffic by Monday 4 January, following its closure after a crack was discovered in a truss under the carriageway.
I’ll answer any question and we will show a full account of events, which will prove the government has taken the right decisionsDerek Mackay
The reopening date was made public as transport minister Derek Mackay agreed to release all documents about maintenance of the bridge after opposition parties demanded “full transparency” about when the government became aware of the need for urgent repairs.
Bridge operator Amey said the work was on schedule and that the bridge is expected to reopen to all vehicles on 4 January.
A spokeswoman for Amey said engineers were “working towards” having the bridge within that timescale, but noted that this was “dependent on weather conditions”.
Meanwhile, Mr Mackay said he would “show a full account of events which will prove that the Scottish government has taken the right decisions” about the closure of the crossing.
Labour welcomed Mr Mackay’s commitment to release all the documents related to when ministers first became aware of pressure on the bridge’s truss end links.
However, Mr Mackay remained under pressure to state when the documents would be made available to the public, as Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Alex Rowley called for them to be released as a “matter of urgency”.
In a letter to Mr Mackay, Fife MSP Mr Rowley asked the minister to confirm when he would release the information and the “manner in which it will be made available to the public”.
Mr Rowley said: “It is vital that this documentation is released as soon as possible, in the interests of transparency. I should be grateful if you would confirm when you will release the information and the manner in which it will be made available to the public.”
The demand for full disclosure came after leaked e-mails showed government officials were told of the need for urgent repairs to the bridge in February.
Mr Mackay also said that he believed his job was secure and stated that he would not resist an official inquiry into the closure of the crossing.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Well, I believe it is because I’ve been working very hard,
“I’m doing my best and I will ensure that we open that bridge and I’ll answer any question asked of me and I know that we will show a full account of events, which will prove that the Scottish Government has taken the right decisions.”