Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 17:05 UK

Boat strike protection for bridge

Tay Road Bridge (pic: Undiscovered Scotland)
Work will start in 2010 and is expected to last two years

More than 17m will be spent protecting the Tay Road Bridge from serious damage if it is hit by a boat.

It is planned to place sheet piling and concrete round certain bridge piers so that a vessel would bounce off them rather than strike the supports.

The proposals were drawn up following collapses around the world, however, bosses at the Tay crossing are stressing the structure is safe.

Work is expected to begin in 2010 and take two years to complete.

'Protective measures'

Tay Bridge manager John Crerar said: "Most of the vessels go through the four navigation spans up to Perth and back down again, so these spans in the middle of the bridge are most at risk.

"So, we've concluded that we need to put in pier protection measures to stop the vessels striking the actual piers.

"Internationally there have been various things that have happened on bridges and that's obviously focussed people's attention onto potential problems.

"The risk is low. I can assure the public that the bridge itself is not in any danger of falling down and these are all protective measures."

There have been several bridge disasters in the past year.

Last June, a crossing collapsed in China after being struck by a boat, causing vehicles and pedestrians to plunge into the water.

Dozens of people were also killed in Dubai, Vietnam and China when bridges under construction collapsed.

And in the US, at least 13 people died when a crossing over the Mississippi in Minnesota fell down in August.

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