Inquiry into Forth Bridge closure

A committee inquiry to consider issues around the structural defects that have led to the current closure of the Forth Road Bridge will get underway early next year.

Wednesday, 16th December 2015, 11:57 am
An inquiry into the Forth Bridge closure will take place early next year. Pic by Scott Louden.

The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee aims to hear from Transport Scotland/Amey officials and engineers, representatives of the former Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA), independent engineering experts and the Transport Minister in a series of evidence sessions starting next month.

The committee has today also issued a call for written evidence from any individuals or organisations who feel they may have information relevant to the Committee’s inquiry.

Jim Eadie MSP, committee convener, said: “The closure of the Forth Road Bridge has led to disruption to many commuters, businesses and visitors.

“While we welcome the Government’s announcement that the bridge is expected to re-open early in the new year, legitimate questions have been raised about why the bridge had to be closed and whether the structural problems identified could have been avoided or dealt with differently.

“The committee has agreed these questions should be addressed in a focussed, timely and transparent manner. “That is why we have today agreed a schedule of oral evidence sessions with those individuals and organisations we see as key to this issue, and why we are calling for written evidence from anyone who feels they have information relevant to the committee’s work in this area.”

He added: “It is my expectation that oral evidence sessions will be heard in January and February next year with a Committee report being published in March.”

The committee’s inquiry will be specifically concerned with: The process which led to the identification of the structural defect in the North east tower truss end link; the nature and extent of the defect and its impact on the structural integrity of the Forth Road Bridge (FRB); the process and sequence of events which led to the decision to close the FRB on public safety grounds; the progress of temporary repair work and an assessment of its outcomes; details of proposals to identify permanent repair solutions and the timeline for this work to be undertaken; an examination of proposed or actual structural maintenance and repair programmes between 2005-2015 to determine whether the structural defect in North east tower truss end link could have been avoided; and

consideration of the levels of capital budgets and revenue funding available for structural monitoring, maintenance and repair of the FRB during this same ten year period.