Friday, March 6, 2009

Contractors fear £2bn Forth Crossing will blow budget

Scottish civil engineering contractors are worried that the ВЈ2bn Forth Replacement Crossing will leave nothing left in the budget to fund other infrastructure projects.

Funding for the bridge is currently being sorted-out by the Scottish government and Whitehall ahead of construction starting in 2011.

CECA (Scotland) CEO Alan Watt said: "The Crossing is a once-in-a-generation project which will safeguard a vital connection in our transport network and have a major impact on the economy.

"Our concern is that if the Forth Replacement Crossing is paid for during the course of the works then Transport Scotland will find itself unable to do much else during the forecast five years of the bridge’s construction.


Contractors fear £2bn Forth Crossing will blow budget


"This would mean cutting many smaller projects designed to enhance the fabric and safety of the transport network across Scotland. These schemes may not be on the same scale as the Crossing, but their importance to the local communities and local economies they serve is huge.”

Speaking about the talks held between the Scottish Government and Treasury Minister Yvette Cooper MP, Mr Watt said: “This problem needs a pragmatic solution facilitating steadier construction activity, and maintaining much needed transport improvements and sustaining jobs.

“If Transport Scotland’s budget is drained between 2011 and 2016, it is reasonable to assume there will be an inefficient peak and trough in spending, before during and after the construction of the Crossing.

“Both Governments must work together to fund the Crossing or risk damaging the Scottish, and the UK’s, economy.”


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