Forth Road Bridge cables fear reduced

PROBLEMS with corriding cable on the Forth Road Bridge look to have been resolved.

A dehumidification process put in place to stop wires cracking in the bridge’s suspension cables has greatly reduced concerns about their future safety.

This follows results from the latest inspection report since the system was installed on the bridge cables four years ago.

Chief engineer and bridgemaster Barry Colford said of the report: “The results of the inspection appears to demonstrate that the rate of deterioration of cable strength has been reduced and the factor of safety against failure of the cables has not materially diminished.

“This is giving strong comfort that the newly installed dehumidification system is retarding the corrosion of the bridge wires.”

Concerns over the suspension cables were a factor in the decision to build a new £1bn Forth Crossing, which is due to open in 2016.

However, government agency Transport Scotland (TS) said the replacement for the Forth Road Bridge was still essential.

A TS spokesman said: “While the dehumidification process wasn’t the key reason for going ahead with the new Forth crossing, we welcome the fact that FETA’s efforts appear to be working and congratulate those involved. This means we can continue to plan on the basis of the existing Road Bridge being used as a dedicated public transport crossing.‪

“As the chief engineer and Bridgemaster has repeatedly said, a degree of uncertainty will always remain. Cables will need to be continually monitored and inspected for the remainder of their service life, and damage already done to the wires inside the cables cannot be repaired.”