14 – FORTH REPLACEMENT CROSSING
A.128 The Forth Replacement Crossing will comprise a cable stayed bridge across the River Forth west of the existing Forth Road Bridge with associated connecting roads and future proofed multi-modal capability.
Contribution towards the Scottish Government’s Purpose
A.129 The Forth Replacement Crossing and its networks will ensure that a key river crossing is maintained. In doing so it will protect the economy of Fife, Edinburgh and beyond from disruption stemming from the uncertainty of the long term viability and operation of the Forth Road Bridge and concerns over the current operational characteristics of the surrounding road network.
A.130 The bridge and its connections will also offer the opportunity to develop bus, tram or light rail systems connecting Fife, Edinburgh and West Lothian, so encouraging the use of more sustainable modes of transport. They will also support the reduction in travel times and improve journey time reliability for cross Forth trips and improve connections to areas of economic activity including West Edinburgh, Grangemouth, Rosyth and Dundee.
Links to Other Strategies
A.131 The Forth Replacement Crossing is identified as a key national development in the second National Planning Framework (NPF2) and is supported by the SEStran Regional Transport Strategy.
A.132 The Forth Replacement Crossing recognises its links to development plans for West Edinburgh, Rosyth and Edinburgh Airport, all of which are highlighted in NPF2 and more widely to the plans of SEStran, the City of Edinburgh Council, West Lothian Council and Fife Council. Meetings have taken place with each of these organisations.
Current Status of Project
A.133 The Forth Replacement Crossing was a fast tracked component of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR).
A.134 The Forth Replacement Crossing Study (FRCS) identified the main issues surrounding cross Forth Trips, and considered 65 options for meeting objectives identified to address these issues. The FRCS reported to Minister’s in December 2007, at which point a decision was made in principal to provide a multi-modal cable stayed bridge and connections to replace the existing Forth Road Bridge.
A.135 Work on the design development of the Project has been taken forward over the last year recognising the improving prognosis for the Forth Road Bridge. Whilst that structure will not be able to maintain the quality of secure connection required to reliably support the East of Scotland Economy, a clear future role as a public transport corridor has been identified. This has allowed changes to the requirements for the Forth Replacement Crossing and a Managed Crossing Strategy effectively utilising existing infrastructure has been developed. This will be taken forward for authorisation during 2009.
A.136 The Forth Replacement Crossing originally estimated to cost between £3.2 and £4.2 billion at 2016 outturn prices has now been redesigned and is expected to cost between ‘£1.72 and £2.34 billion. This includes VAT, optimism bias and inflation from a 2006 base cost.
A.137 Design development of the Forth Replacement Crossing is ongoing. The primary factors affecting how soon the project can be delivered will be the resolution of statutory processes and the availability of funding to carry the intervention forward to completion.