REPLACING the deck of the Forth Road Bridge would cut repair costs and secure the crossing’s long-term future, the structure’s chief engineer has revealed.
Bridgemaster Barry Colford said resurfacing the 1.5-mile-long deck would slash increasingly expensive repairs as the bridge creaks under the strain of double the amount traffic it was designed to hold, including far heavier lorries.
Mr Colford revealed replacing the deck ranked top in his wish-list for the 50-year-old bridge during a presentation to the Institute of Civil Engineers Scotland last week.
It could mean closing the bridge for three years but would enable it to carry more traffic than just buses and taxis after the adjacent Queensferry Crossing opens in two years’ time.
Painting the truss is reported to cost £300 per square metre or £60 million in total.
A spokesman for Colford at the Forth Estuary Transport Authority said: “This is a long-standing issue and an ongoing problem, with constant running repairs required.
“It is one area of the bridge which could have been better designed. The truss desk has open steelwork underneath, while a box girder, which is enclosed is much easier to maintain.”