[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006, 11:04 GMT
Forth bridge traffic on the rise
Forth Road Bridge
Even more cars are using the Forth Road Bridge, new figures show
Traffic crossing the Forth Road Bridge increased by almost 250,000 vehicles to 24 million last year, new figures show.

The rise was attributed to more peak time weekday traffic and an increase in the number of heavy goods vehicles.

The latest statistics are being seen as particularly significant as the bridge is already carrying more than twice the load it was designed to handle.

Meanwhile, work to upgrade A8000 link road between the bridge and the M8 and M9 is due to start in June.

The bridge operators have awarded a 40m contract to Morrison Construction and the project should be finished in February 2008.

The increasing number of heavy vehicles is particularly significant as these cause the greatest damage to the fabric of the bridge itself
Alastair Andrew
Feta general manager

Most of the road will be improved to motorway standard, with the aim of reducing congestion for southbound bridge traffic during the morning rush hour.

The board has also approved a feasibility study into reducing the rate of corrosion in the bridge's main support cables.

The move follows a report which warned the bridge could be shut to all traffic in under 14 years unless action was taken.

Consultants are to look into fitting 12m de-humidification equipment, which would pump dry air onto the wet cables.

Ministers are due to discuss bridge tolls and the possibility of building a new crossing when they meet next week.

Alastair Andrew, Forth Estuary Transport Association (Feta) general manager, said: "Although the traffic figures for 2004 and 2005 were distorted by the major works being carried out on the bridge at that time, the underlying trend is clear - demand for travel across the Forth continues to grow.

"The increasing number of heavy vehicles is particularly significant as these cause the greatest damage to the fabric of the bridge itself.

"This is already resulting in an increasingly frequent need to resurface the bridge and strengthen the structure, which is already carrying more than twice its original design capacity."

'Traffic exaggeration'

"This is already resulting in an increasingly frequent need to resurface the bridge and strengthen the structure, which is already carrying more than twice its original design capacity."

A spokesman for the National Alliance Against Tolls Scotland said claims of a rise in traffic were "just spin".

John McGoldrick said: "Traffic on the Forth road bridge is only counted northbound.

"In 2005 there were 11,905,000 northbound crossings. This was up on 2004, but was actually down 100,000 on the figure for 2003.

"As for the A8000 / M9 spur, drivers may wonder why this 40m scheme is being financed from bridge tolls, rather than from the 4bn that is collected in roads taxes from Scotland's drivers."


SEE ALSO:
Charge powers 'no link to tolls'
21 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Forth Road Bridge closure warning
17 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Probe into bridge cable corrosion
10 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Forth bridge project costs soar
24 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Forth bridge work completed early
07 Jun 05 |  Scotland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific