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Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 16:39 GMT
40m bridge facelift derailed
The bridge has been getting a 40m facelift

Railtrack has revealed that a 40m project to repaint the Forth Rail Bridge has fallen behind schedule.

The rail infrastructure company, which acts as guardian of the world famous bridge, and contractors have initiated a review into what has caused delays in the four-year painting contract.

A spokesman for Railtrack said that the review would be completed by the turn of the year.

It was hoped, he added, to discover the causes of the delay and how it could be overcome.

Safety fears

The company, which took over responsibility for the bridge following rail privatisation, decided on the maintenance programme in 1997.

Rather than continuing with the previous end-to-end paint job, a new glass-based substance is now used to give the bridge a protective coating.

Contractors Rigblast, from Aberdeen, have been using a team of up to 300 to apply the new coating.

However, two years into the contract, the project has fallen behind schedule.

Bad weather

Sandy Clark, managing director of Rigblast, said: "We have been severely impacted by weather on the job.

"A certain amount of bad weather provision was factored into the contract, but the actual bad weather has been four times what was expected.

"We are now undertaking a joint review of the project with Railtrack."

Work on the structure, which was opened in 1890, is due to be completed by the end of 2001.

The new coating, when applied, is designed to protect the bridge for 25 years.

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