It’s all gone a bit quiet the last few weeks on the bridge front. But here is the pick of what’s arrived over the last week or so.
Extra-wide hard shoulders are due to add millions on to the cost for the new bridge. Not quite sure why this hasn’t been revealed before, although it sounds like it’s in the costings already – it just happens to be much more expensive hard shoulders than other bridges of it’s kind. This was countered by an equally vague news story claiming that the British chamber of commerce has estimated that the £1.6billion (although estimates are now much higher) spend on the new bridge would rake in around £6billion of benefits to the economy.
The current old bridge has come under the spotlight again, with the announcement that £7m is to be spend testing and assessing the condition of it’s anchorages reports The Scotsman. This comes very recently after we heard from the BBC that a further £13.6m will be spend replacing bearings on both approaches to the bridge. These bearings are crucial in allowing the bridge to ‘move’ during seasonal variations in temperature. It does seem slightly curious however that such work is seen as a priority, as the previous bearings have lasted several decades – whereas these potentially only have a few years of heavy use (they are not scheduled to complete till 2013, by which time construction on the new bridge should be well underway).
I also found a very interesting objection lodged by a local static gear fisherman against the proposed bridge. The objection references three commercial fishing operations that operate in the Forth Estuary around the site of the bridge. According to the objection, he catches lobster, crabs and whelks and his primary fishing area of Beamer Rock will be directly underneath the new bridge, meaning that his commercial operation will be directly affected.
For a government agency, Transport Scotland seems remarkably in touch with ‘new media’. You’ll imagine my surprise when I discovered that it has a twitter feed, that it’s been happily posting comments on since last October. Nothing too interesting generally, just a set of headlines followed by a TWURL URL to a more formal news page on it’s website. Actually, maybe it’s just my ignorance – I just found an STV feed too.