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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 17:23 GMT
Forth Road Bridge closure warning
Forth Road Bridge
Officials said the crossing would be safe until at least 2014
The Forth Road Bridge could be closed to all traffic in less than 14 years unless action is taken to strengthen its main cables, a report has warned.

A survey into corrosion of the support cables was carried out by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta).

The inspection predicted that by 2014 the bridge would be shut to heavy goods vehicles and by 2019 it would have to close to all traffic.

There were also proposals to charge 4 for cars crossing during rush hour.

However, there would also be a 50% reduction for cars with at least one passenger.

We are taking action now to prolong the life of the bridge
Tom Aithcheson
Feta chief executive

Feta recommended two new studies costing almost 3m to consider options for fixing the corrosion problem, including completely replacing or augmenting the main cables.

Chief executive Tom Aithcheson said: "The most important thing to get across is that the bridge is capable of carrying traffic now and for many years to come.

"We are taking action now to prolong the life of the bridge as long as possible."

'Trunk road' call

Acoustic monitoring will be introduced to scan the entire length of the cables.

The findings are to be discussed with representatives of the surrounding local authorities on 25 November.

John Mc Goldrick, of the National Alliance Against Tolls, repeated the call for the executive to take over the bridge and designate it as a trunk road.

"There has been a flurry of stories about the Forth road bridge, either saying that it will need to be replaced or that tolls will have to be increased to 4," he went on.

"The suggestion that the bridge must be replaced is premature. What is needed is more evidence from tests, followed by an independent assessment.

"The cost of building the bridge was paid off long ago. Under the present law, tolls should end next March."

Probe into bridge cable corrosion
10 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Roadworks bring bridge disruption
03 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Capacity concern over road bridge
02 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Forth bridge project costs soar
24 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Forth bridge work completed early
07 Jun 05 |  Scotland

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