The capital budget needed to sort out bridge repairs on the Forth Road Bridge was so affected by the 2008 removal of bridge tolls and 2011’s budget cuts that plans to repair the structure were shelved five years ago.
This is according to Barry Colford, former bridgemaster, who told Holyrood’s Infrastructure Committee and the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) that engineers had believed that truss end link replacements were required as part of a capital programme of works, the Daily Record reveals.
And Lesley Hinds, former convener, stated that the spending review five years ago had led to a 58 per cent cut in this capital plan, so a “reprioritisation exercise” had to be rolled out. As such, the plan to replace the truss end links did not go ahead.
The bridge itself was shut down for three weeks in December after a seized pin apparently caused a crack in the structure. At the time, Tony Martin – former bridge authority chairman – said: “We should never be in this position again. We need to bring the bridge back up to A1 condition. If something was to happen to the Queensferry Crossing, and you have more than 72,000 cars a day crossing the bridge, you have to make sure there is an alternative for that traffic.”
Mr Colford continued, saying that Feta now needs to reprioritise again and make sure that any work carried out is with the safety of staff and bridge users in mind. To find out more about the Forth Bridge repairs, read our blog on the subject here.