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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 15:19 GMT
Rail bridge demolition touted
Forth rail bridge
The bridge of one of Scotland's architectural wonders
One of Scotland's architectural marvels may need to be demolished due to soaring maintenance costs, an MSP has claimed.

Labour's Helen Eadie said there had been an "incredible" increase in the cost of maintenance on the Forth Rail Bridge.

The Dunfermline East MSP insisted she wanted to see the 113-year old structure remain but claimed it had suffered under a "travesty of mismanagement".

Bridge owners Network Rail said it had no plans to dismantle the iconic bridge, which it claimed costs 10m a year to maintain.

Regardless of cost

In a letter to enterprise minister Iain Gray, Ms Eadie said: "Clearly this bridge is virtually a national monument and a testament to the engineers and workers who built this splendid structure and it is without doubt one of the Great Wonders of the World.

"Perhaps it should be preserved in the same way that the other Great Wonders of the World have been preserved regardless of the cost.

"However, maybe too, people need to at the very least consider the unthinkable.

"If costs are going to increase in an incredible way then safety has to be paramount and replacing that great structure has to at least be debated."

Helen Eadie
Helen Eadie: Think the unthinkable

Ms Eadie also said the bridge has caused problems for local residents.

She said: "People must examine all the circumstances around this bridge and I want them to arrive at a real commitment to the bridge.

"But over the time I've been serving as a member for this constituency it hasn't been properly maintained.

"I've got people living under the bridge, people who have had bits falling off that bridge.

"I'm talking about the health and safety of my constituents."

Taken apart

Ms Eadie said a new combined road and rail bridge nearby could be built to replace it.

A Network Rail spokeswoman dismissed the prospect of the bridge being taken apart.

She said: "We are looking at maintaining the bridge as it stands.

"Dismantling it is not something that is being considered from our point of view."

Painting and repair

But Network Rail said it would be "interested" if it was approached about a new bridge.

More than 10m is being invested in painting and repair work on the bridge this year, the spokeswoman added.

Opened in 1890, the cantilever bridge crosses the River Forth between South Queensferry and North Queensferry.

It still carries the east coast mainline railway north from Edinburgh to Perth and Dundee.


SEE ALSO:
Facelift in store for rail bridge
27 May 02 |  Scotland
Fresh coat for historic bridge
07 Mar 02 |  Scotland
MP seeks bridge repair assurances
29 Dec 01 |  Scotland
40m bridge facelift derailed
23 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Forth Bridge contract ends
29 Feb 00 |  Scotland
On track for protection
21 Aug 98 |  UK News


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