The Forth Replacement Crossing has reached a critical stage as it goes forward for scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament this week.
The introduction of the Forth Crossing Bill, which seeks authority to implement and build the new Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC), marks the start of a period where individuals and other parties who may be affected can review full details of the scheme and have the opportunity, should they wish, to lodge objections.
“Introduction of the Forth Crossing Bill marks a historic day for Scotland and makes this Government’s commitment to delivering the Forth Replacement Crossing in 2016 on time and on budget abundantly clear,” said transport minister Stewart Stevenson.
“Given the real uncertainty of the future viability of the current Forth Road Bridge, Scotland simply cannot afford any delay to the FRC. The economic importance of this scheme to future generations demands we get this project right and we welcome and look forward to the close scrutiny of Parliament.”
Significant doubts remain over the future viability of the existing Forth Road Bridge, and the £1.7bn - £2.3bn (at 2016 prices) project is aimed at maintaining and improving the vital economic transport corridor across the Forth.
The Forth Replacement Crossing project seeks to construct a new motorway-standard two lane carriageway with hard shoulders, spanning approximately 2.7km in length to improve the reliability of the cross-Forth travel for vehicles.
The introduction of the hybrid Bill – the first of its type ever taken forward in Scotland - begins the first of three parliamentary stages this week which it is anticipated will be completed by November 2010.
The procurement process for identifying the contractor who will build the crossing is already under way and Transport Scotland expects to announce the shortlisted organisations selected to tender for the main works later this month. The construction contract is expected to be awarded in Spring 2011, with work commencing later that year.