Inquiry to be held on Forth Road Bridge closure

Forth Road Bridge is closed until January 4. Picture: Scott Louden.
Forth Road Bridge is closed until January 4. Picture: Scott Louden.
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A Scottish Parliament inquiry into the Forth Road Bridge closure will report before next year’s Holyrood election, it emerged yesterday.

The probe will take place in January and February, to report in March, Holyrood’s infrastructure committee announced. Voters go to the polls in May.

It will look into the causes behind the 20mm crack which has brought about the bridge closure and the extent of its impact on the “structural integrity” of the crossing. It will also examine the maintenance and repair programmes and whether the crack in the north-east tower truss-end link could have been avoided.

READ MORE - SNP urged to ‘come clean’ on Forth Road Bridge repairs

Committee convener and SNP MSP Jim Eadie said: “The closure has led to disruption to many commuters, businesses and visitors. While we welcome the government’s announcement that the bridge is expected to reopen early in the new year, legitimate questions have been raised about why the bridge had to be closed and whether the structural problems identified could have been avoided or dealt with differently.

“The committee has agreed that these questions should be addressed in a focused, timely and transparent manner. That is why we have today agreed a schedule of oral evidence ­sessions with those individuals and organisations we see as key to this issue.”

READ MORE - FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon under fire over Forth Road Bridge

The committee will also hear from Transport Scotland and Amey officials and engineers as well as representatives of the former Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) in a series of evidence sessions starting next month.

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Alex Rowley said the inquiry must “leave no stone unturned.” He added: “The thousands of people struggling to get to their work and the many businesses losing money because of the bridge closure deserve some ­transparency.”

READ MORE - Forth Road Bridge set to re-open on January 4