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Wire breaks on Forth Road Bridge cable lead to inspection

A special inspection of a Forth Road Bridge main cable is to take place after an increase in wire breaks was detected.

Bridge operator the Forth Estuary Transport Authority noticed 24 wire breaks in one area of the cable in the last three months.

This compared with 93 breaks across the whole bridge in the previous eight years.

Chief engineer Barry Colford said: “The main cable acoustic monitoring system is designed to give us early warning of potential problems within the cable.

“While this increase in wire breaks does merit further investigation, there are no immediate safety concerns and the cables still have more than enough strength to do their job.

“The inspection that we are now carrying out is purely to determine whether the recent increase in the rate and concentration of wire breaks is indicative of a longer term problem.

“Once we know the results of this inspection we will recommend any further action that is required to ensure the bridge remains safe and open to traffic.”

Each of the main cables on the bridge near Edinburgh is made up of 11,618 individual steel wires.

An acoustic monitoring system was installed in 2006 to detect new breaks among these wires. It uses special microphones along the length of the cables to identify the sound of wires snapping inside.

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