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New Forth Bridge proposals examined

Plans for a new Forth Bridge are being examined by MSPs after concerns were raised over signs of deterioration on the 46-year-old original structure.

Transport Scotland officials are to give evidence on the bridge and Stage One of the legislation involved to Holyrood’s Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee. The Scottish Parliament has to approve the proposals which were laid out in the Forth Crossing Bill launched last November.

They involve a 2.7km, two-lane cable-stayed bridge for road traffic between Edinburgh and Fife costing up to £2.3bn. The existing bridge would still be used for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians, although it has been called the “world’s most expensive bus lane”. Critics said it will not give value for money.

The Forth Replacement Bridge has been costed between £1.7bn and £2.3bn at 2016 prices. If approved, it is due to take five years to complete, with construction starting in 2011.

The Scottish and UK Governments have disagreed over funding, promoting concerns for other public transport projects. Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman Alison McInnes urged them to establish a “funding package for this vital bridge”.

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