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Minister defends Forth bridge work

Scottish transport minister Stewart Stevenson has defended the Forth bridge project and said future generations would “not thank” politicians if plans for a new bridge are delayed.

His comments come following suggestions work on the bridge is not an immediate concern, and is too costly.

Critics of the Forth bridge project say the lifespan of the current road bridge at Queensferry could be extended with some remedial work.

But at a Holyrood Forth Crossing Bill Committee, Stevenson said the deterioration to suspension cables can not be undone.

He added there has been an increase in traffic using the the bridge since it was built in 1960s.

Stevenson said: “It is very clear that we must continue to make best progress, otherwise future generations of the people that we serve will certainly not thank us.”

The committee is investigating details before legislation is passed to give ministers the authority to construct the bridge and associated road works, estimated to cost about £2bn.

Convener Jackson Carlaw sparked the minister’s warning by asking if the project would have been regarded as so “time critical”, given suggestions that remedial work may have extended the existing bridge’s lifespan.

Two bids have been submitted to take on the project, described as the biggest since devolution 10 years ago.

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