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Last Updated: Friday, 3 November 2006, 19:21 GMT
New Forth Road Bridge proposals
Forth road bridge
Jack McConnell said a new Forth road bridge would be built
The first minister has confirmed that Labour is committed to building a new bridge over the Forth.

Corrosion is a major problem with the present road bridge and its replacement has been the subject of fierce debate.

Jack McConnell said the new crossing would be in place before the existing road bridge closes to traffic in 2013.

Local MSPs on both sides of the River Forth have been anxious that a final decision was reached quickly and have welcomed the decision.

Main artery

Now Labour's commitment is included in an economic policy document to go before the Scottish Labour Party conference in Oban later this month.

It declares the Forth bridge to be "crucial" to the east of Scotland economy, a view endorsed by Dunfermline West MSP, Scott Barrie.

The Labour backbencher described the crossing as more than just a bridge in Fife, but the main artery for the whole of the east of Scotland, and the means of ensuring that the whole country benefited from the prosperity centred on Edinburgh.

Transport Minister Tavish Scott told Holyrood that five separate reports on the issue have been commissioned and will be completed by May.

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