LETTERS: Planned maintenance will save costs on bridge

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Given the vagueness of the outcome on the current close of the Forth Road Bridge and the culture of SNP MSPs spending time looking for someone to blame, an analogy could help.

You are driving your car when the front near side suspension coil spring breaks. The car will continue to run with no obvious visual problems, however, other components (steering linkages, dampers, tyres etc) will start to get stressed by additional load.

Two options are open; first, do nothing, as this will save costs and as the vehicle is ‘functioning’. Second, replace the coil spring. This will alleviate the strain on other components but will involve expenditure.

While a decision is being pondered, the front offside spring is working harder than it is designed for. Then it starts to crack, but at this stage is not broken.

This, however, is a ‘different’ defect from the original problem, the SNP executive declares, so as to avoid embarrassment, even though they are actually ‘linked’ as part of the sub- frame build up.

We now have two defective front springs which are classified as dangerous. The offside spring taking additional load will eventually fail.

Action is taken to repair/replace the near side spring at a cost. The offside spring is the same age and has been subjected to the same working conditions throughout its working life.

However as it is still working, do you a) leave it as it is or b) consider the additional cost of replacing it?

Administratively, option A is best, as it is cheaper. From an engineering view option there is no alternative but to repair/replace both these components.

The SNP executive must tell the truth to the people of Scotland and that is: “We do not know when the bridge will reopen.” This is better than the drip feed of vague promises.

In saying that, this is a critical and urgent repair and the design and repair team are facing an unknown time frame, so no accurate forecast can be made. This is something that cannot be rushed. Do it right and this prevents rework at a later stage.

Regular and correct maintenance is vital to engineering components. Unfortunately, costs are classed as an ‘overhead’ and the withdrawal of funding causes dire consequences that have eventually caught up with the current SNP MSPs purporting to represent the electorate.

Planned preventative maintenance is more cost effective than unplanned breakdown maintenance.

Ron Spraggon, Dunfermline, Fife

Mosque visit helps promote relations

Good that our councillors have visited the Central Mosque. During my recent visit, I passed Roseburn Primary School children after their visit.

We are fortunate in how open all of our places of worship are. Saint Giles and my church, Saint Patrick’s in the Cowgate, to name but only two.

My visit was to see Mr Malik, a senior executive official, for an exchange of inter-faith information. For those in Edinburgh, the Central Mosque, is open during the Edinburgh Festival, with an excellent exhibition.

Tom Reilly, Esslemont Road Edinburgh

Traffic growth poses new bridge problems

When the Queensferry Crossing opens in 2016 it will be the third road bridge built in 50+ years to cross the Forth.

At the present rate of car journeys, in 20 or so years the new bridge will be at capacity. Already there is talk of widening the Edinburgh City Bypass.

“The new bridge will solve the traffic congestion problems” – a quote today? No, from 1964 when the Forth Road Bridge opened.

The difference then was that no one could predict the motor car explosion, but today we can. I do not have the answer and I suspect neither has the Government, at least not one that won’t cost billions, and the transport budget is used up on duelling the A9, the Aberdeen bypass and, of course, the Queensferry Crossing.

But one thing is certain, more roads mean more cars and all these ‘improvements’ are just short term and the problem will arise again unless a solution is found, but I hae ma doots.

Just a thought; if the Forth Road Bridge had not been built, the queues at the ferry would have stretched back to Leith.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Sentencing terms should be upheld

OUR justice system is a complete shambles. Hardly anyone gets sentenced for the crime they have committed, there is far too much plea bargaining.

It needs to be made clear so there is no uncertainty about how long a person has to serve before being considered for release; this has to be logged at the sentencing stage.

Also, if the appeal system and the prison service decide to release some prisoners early and they go on to commit further crimes while out on licence, then not only should their sentence be doubled but the people affected by their crimes should be able to take the relevant authorities to court and get a claim for compensation for putting the public and property at risk.

But the main problem is that there are not nearly enough prisons and the government has no intention of building any more as this would cost money to build and staff.

Far better to leave criminals roving the streets causing havoc than look after and protect their citizens. Shame on them.

Raymond Ross, Hutchinson Avenue, Edinburgh