Letters: Bridge suspension

Who knows what the results of the forthcoming Scottish general election will be? I certainly don't, but it's a fair guess that no one party will end up with a parliamentary majority.

Aside, then, from the absolutely massive breach of protocol which the proposed signing during the election campaign of the contract to build the new Forth road bridge represents, surely it is only right and proper that our current crop of MSPs do not lumber their successors with a contract which at least some of them - and maybe a number which could play a key role in helping to form any coalition government - might wish to reconsider in the light of data from the cable drying of the existing bridge which will be available in the coming months.

It cost the Scottish Government - actually, the taxpayers - some 40 million to cancel the Glasgow Airport Rail Link.

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It will cost taxpayers much, much more to cancel the much, much bigger contract for a new bridge. It should not be signed prior to the election.

Let the people speak - and then let members of the new Scottish Parliament take a view on what it now perceives the Scottish people's priorities to be.

Perhaps, as your correspondent Robert Hamilton suggests (Letters, 28 February), they might think mending the nation's existing roads is the more necessary focus for public expenditure on such a grand scale.

Lawrence Marshall

ForthRight Alliance

Rose Street


Considerable doubts have been expressed regarding a proposed new road bridge over the Forth.

Engineering opinion appears reasonably confident that a solution can be found to enhance the life of the cables of the existing road bridge.

Those who argue for a second road bridge to be constructed will need to justify a case for expenditure of 2 billion-plus when painful cuts are being made to programmes for hospitals, schools, care of the elderly and others.

A reported discovery that an existing oil pipe line conflicts with the chosen line of the bridge, adding some 200 million to the cost, suggests inadequate preliminary investigations.

Have lessons from the Edinburgh tram fiasco been forgotten?

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What is needed is a compre-hensive report as to the supposed need for a second road bridge, its cost, timescale, operating cost, impact of traffic entering Edinburgh and safety factors related to shipping,

The case for a tunnel linking Leith and Kirkcaldy has a considerable degree of support, but has been dismissed by some politicians on the grounds it would "take too long".

Support for the tunnel should be tested by obtaining independent engineering advice and a reasonably wide sample of public opinion.

The watchword is "care", not "speed" related to a political timetable.

Alan Wightman


Isle of Skye