Letters: Forth Road Bridge has been great success story

Fireworks celebrated 50 years of the Road Bridge. Picture: Scott Louden
Fireworks celebrated 50 years of the Road Bridge. Picture: Scott Louden
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I write to correct Martin Hannan’s ill-informed comments about the Forth Road Bridge (Evening News, September 16).

The Forth Road Bridge has been a remarkable success story, carrying a much greater weight and volume of traffic than its designers ever envisaged and bringing huge economic and social benefits to Scotland. It was absolutely right that its 50th anniversary was celebrated.

Over the past half-century the bridge has carried over 760,000,000 vehicles over the Forth, without a single day’s closure for maintenance during the working week. In its first year of operation the bridge carried ten times more vehicles than the ferries had the year before.

Meanwhile the weight limit for heavy vehicles has doubled from that which the bridge was originally designed for.

Thanks to our engineers’ successful work to tackle corrosion in the main cables, the chief engineer now estimates the bridge will provide at least another 50 years of service.

The celebrations were therefore far from “muted” – if Mr Hannan had actually attended the event he would have witnessed what many regarded as the most spectacular fireworks show ever staged in Scotland.

Cllr Lesley Hinds, Convener, Forth Estuary Transport Authority

Registration means debtors can be billed

A great oppportunity has arisen for local authorities to collect overdue and unpaid council tax from previously untraceable non-payers.

Having registered to vote, the councils’ debtors can now be billed at their present address.

I wonder how many of them have the wit to grasp, in their zealotry, that their sudden yearning for “freedom” – sorry, democracy – could cost them dear rather sooner than they ever imagined.

Can we taxpayers assume that councils will act with alacrity and utilise the information available to them? We await the replies from council executives all over Scotland.

Peter Ritchie, Beechmount Park, Edinburgh

Booze control doesn’t get to root of problem

There is no doubt we are a nation of problem drinkers but are we drinking (and abusing drugs) to forget our problems? Alcohol is undoubtedly too cheap but we have to ask why the parents of 7000 children in Edinburgh are spending money on booze rather than their children (News, September 17).

I think the NHS in the East of 
Scotland needs to commit more resources to mental disorders to identify the high-risk parents before the excessive drinking takes hold.

There is little point, in my opinion, in trying to control the supply of alcohol as those with problems need professional help to understand why they need to drink in the first place.

Douglas Kemp, Facilitator, East of Scotland OCD Support Group, East Norton Place, Edinburgh

Toilets essential for residents and tourists

I FELT compelled to write after reading Sandra Dick’s article on the closure of public toilets (News, September 8).

It’s not just tourists who use these facilities, members of the public have to go too. Bath Street toilets in Portobello were mentioned – they aren’t very nice, but where there are shops, people have to go to the loo.

There are none in Leith or Newington and I am not for the single style booths in St Andrew Square – I would be afraid I got locked in.

But when you are older and maybe suffer a little incontinence, you need to go more frequently.

I hope that by writing this the council will realise they definitely need to keep them open. Money needs to be used for this purpose (and for keeping the streets clean and emptying waste bins, none of which is done properly).

What must the tourists think of our city facilities since our standards are so low in this region.

S Brown, Northfield Drive, Edinburgh

Driver who sped with child in car is disgrace

It’s beyond belief that a driver who raced another car at more than 100mph had an 18-month-old child on board (News, September 16).

Nathan Myles, 22, from Arbroath has been warned that he may be jailed. He sped along the A92 dual carriageway between Carnoustie and Dundee while racing 22-year-old Ryan Ross in April.

It’s a miracle that a fatality did not occur concerning these two mindless morons. Though both admitted to dangerous driving they should be ashamed of themselves for this reckless driving offence.

June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh, East Lothian

US has its spending priorities wrong

Whilst the American republicans and democrats moan about being in $18 trillion of debt, perhaps if they avoided illegal wars that they can’t afford then they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in.

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian

Move protest to an appropriate place

I was amazed to see on Sunday at Ocean Terminal, on the first floor at the top of the escalator, adults and children distributing leaflets in sympathy to the Palestinian cause, surrounded by six policemen and a policewoman, minus guns, I hoped.

Maybe it could be allowed outside the main door but not in the middle of walkways, on both sides.

M Chaplin, St Stephen Street, Edinburgh