Public to name new Forth crossing

 

Work on the new crossing has already started

The public will be allowed to vote for the name of the new Forth crossing, the Scottish government has decided.

Transport Minister Keith Brown announced details of the process to choose the name.

An advisory panel is to be established to choose a shortlist of names, with the vote taking place in 2013.

Analysis

The Scottish Government clearly sees this as a prestige project. Artist's impressions give us an intriguing glimpse of the future.

The images show an elegant cable-stayed bridge with three towers, mirroring the three famous double cantilevers of the Forth Bridge.

The decision to build a new crossing has been controversial, with environmental campaigners arguing there is no need for another bridge.

Meanwhile, the SNP's political opponents say Scottish companies are losing out, with too many contracts for the £790m project going to overseas firms.

But everyone seems to agree that the working title of the "Forth Replacement Crossing" shows, at best, a lack of imagination.

Green groups argue the name is deliberately misleading as there is no prospect of the Forth Road Bridge closing to traffic any time soon.

It is used by over 24 million vehicles a year. That is many more than it was designed to carry, and the extra load has come at a cost.

The condition of the road bridge is under constant scrutiny amidst concerns about its ability to cope with that extra workload.

It is frequently under repair.

However, the arguments about the need for a "replacement" continue. That is why one sceptic has already suggested calling the new crossing "Bridge Over the River, Why?"

Construction of the Forth Replacement Crossing, as it is currently known, began in 2011 and is due to be completed in 2016.

Speaking on a visit to the existing Forth Road Bridge, Mr Brown said: "It is absolutely right that the people of Scotland have a say on the identity of this historic project and for that reason I am very happy to announce that a public vote on the naming will take place next year.

"I will shortly be appointing a panel of independent advisors to undertake a consultation on potential names. They will consider all possible suggestions before producing a shortlist of the most appropriate that can be put to a public vote.

"This is an exciting project that we want the people of Scotland to take pride in and I am delighted that the people of Scotland will have the opportunity to have the final say."

The Forth crossing has been described as the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation.

Mr Brown also highlighted continuing efforts to have the historic 19th Century Forth Bridge recognised as a World Heritage Site.

He added: "On behalf of the Forth Bridges Forum, Historic Scotland are preparing to submit a Technical Evaluation document in support of the Forth Bridge's application for World Heritage Status.

"This is just the first round of the process.

"Transport Scotland, Network Rail and the surrounding local authorities are supportive of the bid and look forward to working with Historic Scotland on this important project."

 

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