Engineers on the new Forth crossing are facing a race against time to have it ready by the end of the year.
Delayed work on the deck of the £1.4 billion bridge is not scheduled to be finished until September. It then needs fitting out – which official documents show could take up to 19 weeks. This would take the project past the proposed December 2016 opening date.
The development comes in the wake of revelations that construction work on other parts of the 1.7 mile crossing is months behind schedule.
Transport Scotland last night insisted there was no doubt over the bridge opening by the end of the year.
But Fife MSP and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie described the latest disclosures as “alarming”. He said: “We need an urgent statement from the transport minister to bring some clarity.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Deck lifting began in September 2015 and will take approximately 12 months; the deck fitting-out could take a maximum of 19 weeks, based on current levels of resource. There is an opportunity to increase this resource if required.”