Not so easy to jump from new Forth Road Bridge, MSPs told

Forth bridge. Picture: TSPL
Forth bridge. Picture: TSPL
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Measures aimed at preventing people from jumping to their deaths from the Forth replacement crossing have been outlined to MSPs.

Labour’s Elaine Murray MSP raised the topic at a meeting of the Holyrood committee looking at the project.

Transport Scotland’s Graham Porteous said the new crossing would not have the same pedestrian access as the current bridge.

“With the new bridge there is no pedestrian access because it’s a motorway, so we wouldn’t have the same sort of problems with people going for a walk and jumping off the bridge,” he told the committee.

“The existing bridge set-up won’t change as a result of the bridge-operating company taking over. The intention is the control room staff who monitor the bridge for things like suicide jumpers will stay and these people will just transfer over.”

The Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee has been taking evidence from officials on the initial stage of the Forth Road Bridge Bill.

The new bridge is scheduled to open in 2016 and the first section forming the central foundation of the bridge was put in place at the end of last year.

Transport Scotland has said the project now directly supports around 1,200 construction jobs. Mr Porteous, the organisation’s head of special projects, was also questioned about employment during the hearing.

Margaret McCulloch, Labour MSP for Central Scotland, asked about the extent to which unemployed people and apprentices will be given work as project contracts are drawn up.

Mr Porteous said Transport Scotland has a good record of making sure that local people and apprentices get jobs.

“With the M74, for example, which was completed recently, at the height of construction it employed 900 people. Over 70 per cent of them were from the Glasgow postcode,” he said. “There were also 15 apprentices”.