THE three front-runners in the contest to name the £1.6 billion Forth Replacement Crossing were revealed today in a further attempt to boost voting before it ends on Friday.
Those attracting the most support among the five-strong shortlist are - in alphabetical order - Caledonia Bridge, Queensferry Crossing and St Margaret’s Crossing.
That means the two other possibles are trailing in popularity - Firth of Forth Crossing and Saltire Crossing.
The winner is expected to be announced in late June.
Voting has slowed significantly since the contest was launched on 29 April, with two thirds of the 29,000 votes so far being cast in the first two days.
A total of 17,500 of votes were recorded on the first day and 20,000 after the second, with only an additional 7,000 clocked up over the following three weeks.
Two weeks ago, an animated video explaining the relevance of the shortlisted names to the bridge was unveiled in an effort to attract more voters.
An independent panel selected the five names from 7,600 individual suggestions.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said yesterday: “Over 29,000 votes have been cast so far by the public to find the most popular name for the new Forth Replacement Crossing.
“In the first 24 hours of voting we received over 17,500 votes, so there is still time to influence the outcome and choose the name for Scotland’s biggest infrastructure project in a generation.
“As it stands, the three leading names, in alphabetical order, are Caledonia Bridge, Queensferry Crossing and St Margaret’s Crossing.
“With [three] days of voting left it would be fantastic to see more people across Scotland get involved.
“More votes could still see the other names - Firth of Forth Crossing and Saltire Crossing - move ahead.
“The result hangs in the balance, so I hope many more people take the chance to vote before 7 June.”
Mr Brown had said on 1 May that the initial response rate had been “phenomenal”.
He said then: “We know there is a huge interest in what is Scotland’s biggest infrastructure project in a generation, but the number coming forward over the past few days has surpassed our expectations.”
Votes can be cast at www.namethebridge.co.uk until midnight on Friday.
Several MSPs have backed St Margaret’s Crossing, including Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone, SNP Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance and Mid Scotland Fife SNP member Annabelle Ewing.
Mr Johnstone told MSPs last week: “My preferred option for the bridge’s name is St Margaret’s crossing, and I will encourage everybody to adopt that name whenever possible. I want that name to be on the bridge for ever more.”
However, Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie said he favoured Saltire Crossing.
The video explains that Queensferry was named after Queen (St) Margaret (1045-93), wife of King Malcolm III, who established a ferry there for pilgrims travelling to Dunfermline and St Andrews
The crossing is being constructed just west of the Forth Road Bridge following fears for the strength of the existing structure after corrosion was found in its main cables.
It had been estimated that further deterioration could lead to lorries and other heavy vehicles being banned from the bridge.