Queensferry Crossing reaches construction halfway stage

Building Queensferry Crossing Pic: Jim Martin The three towers of the Queensferry Crossing are now at road deck level and v-shaped supports are rising

Construction of the new bridge over the Firth of Forth has reached the halfway stage.

The three towers of the Queensferry Crossing are now at road deck level. Transport Scotland said the project was on time and under budget.

The current budget range for the project is £1.4bn to £1.45bn, down from £1.45bn to £1.6bn in 2011

Transport Minister Keith Brown earlier visited the Queensferry Crossing and praised engineers' work.

V-shaped support

Mr Brown said: "This time last year the view across the Forth looked a lot different. Work on the foundations was finishing last summer and the beginnings of the towers themselves started under the water line.

"The progress being made by the men and women building the new bridge is truly impressive.

"All three of the towers are now at or past the level of the bridge deck. Initial temporary supports and first bridge deck sections are due to be fitted to the Centre Tower's complex and reinforced 'power joint' in the autumn, while work on all three towers continues until they reach their full 210 metre height next summer.

"We can also see the v-shaped support piers for the south approach viaduct rising and being completed as the months go past. As each one is erected, the viaduct is then launched further out from the shoreline across the pier."

By the end of the year, assembly equipment will be moved over from the south approach viaduct area to the north to start assembly of the shorter North Approach viaduct steelwork. This is expected to be moved into position later in 2015.

Building Queensferry Crossing Pic: Morag Kinniburgh By the end of the year, assembly equipment will be moved over from the South Approach Viaduct area to the north to start assembly of the shorter North Approach viaduct steelwork

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    07:50: Cameron up for debates

    Prime Minister David Cameron says he's in favour of televised debates before the General Election and describes them as "a good thing".

    David Cameron on Breakfast

    The SNP, UKIP, the Greens and the Welsh nationalists are to be included under new proposals from broadcasters.

    The DUP and Sinn Fein are upset at not being asked to take part, while the Respect MP George Galloway is threatening legal action for being omitted.

    Mr Cameron suggested the Northern Ireland parties ought to be included.

    07:47: Working capital Alasdair Lamont BBC Scotland

    Rangers are to borrow up to another £10m from the Newcastle owner Mike Ashley to remain afloat - £5m will be available as immediate working capital, but also to repay a £2m loan made by Ashley on 27 October.

    The entire loan is interest-free but in return Ashley gets security over the club's training ground Murray Park as well as the club's registered trademarks and other properties, but significantly not Ibrox Stadium.


    Additionally, Rangers are giving Ashley a further 26% of shares in Rangers Retail Limited (49% was already owned by Ashley), while any shirt sponsorship proceeds from 2017/18 will be for the benefit of RRL.

    The second tranche of £5m will only be drawn down if required and only after due diligence by Sports Direct.

    07:40: Warnings over abuse care cuts Lucy Adams BBC Scotland

    Scottish Women's Aid (SWA) has warned that thousands of women and children are to lose specialist domestic abuse support.

    Generic image of domestic abuse

    The two Women's Aid groups in West Dunbartonshire have already lost their support funding.

    SWA also raised concerns about the three groups in North Lanarkshire and others in North Ayrshire and Fife.

    The Scottish government says it has allocated nearly £35m since 2012 to support services for women who have been subjected to violence.

    @bbctennis Boy Wonder Down Under BBC Tennis

    Andy Murray's record against Australians...

    Andy Murray
    Good Morning Scotland

    Bill Whiteford (@Billwhiteford): Coming up on #gms @BBCRadioScot after 8: holocaust memorial day. The story of Henry Wuga, who survived Nazi Germany to end up in Scotland

    07:36: Your Views

    What do you think of the latest developments at Rangers? Will Andy Murray progress to the last four at the Australian Open?

    Share your views on these or any other stories/issues that tickle your fancy via text using 80295, tweet #ScotlandLive or email newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

    And you can visit the BBC Scotland News Facebook page, which is back up and running after suffering an international "outage".

    Scotland Live
    07:32: Rangers loan

    Rangers say they have accepted a £10m loan from Mike Ashley's Sports Direct retail company to relieve the "perilous" financial state of the club.

    Sports Direct will receive 26% of the share capital in Rangers Retail Limited and the proceeds of future shirt sponsorship for loan's duration.

    Mike Ashley

    The loan is secured against the Murray Park training ground and other assets.

    However, Ibrox Stadium is not included in the deal, Rangers supporters having launched protests against such a move.

    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk Rangers loan - Your views

    John Daly: Mike Ashley is loaning Rangers money so they can repay a loan to... Mike Ashley? Am I reading that right?

    @BBCTravelScot Travel update BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Very slow westbound #edinburghcitybypass A68 to Sheriffhall RBT- 10mins to get to southbound A90 FRB from Admiralty junction of M90.

    07:24: Hospital 'mall' Eleanor Bradford BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

    The new South Glasgow University hospital campus will be the biggest hospital in the UK when it opens this spring. There are 1,100 adult beds in their own rooms, it is designed to feel more like a shopping centre than a hospital. It has 14 stories on top of the building there's a heli-deck, it has 29 operating theatres and the whole complex will be serviced by robot trolleys.

    07:21: Archbishop recovering The Evening Times

    Archbishop Philip Tartaglia arrived back in the city early yesterday evening from Spain.

    The 64-year-old was rushed to hospital on Thursday last week after falling ill in the Spanish city of Salamanca.

    He had gathered there with other bishops for an annual winter meeting.

    A spokesman has confirmed he will now take some time to recover before returning to his duties.

    07:20: Holocaust Memorial Day

    Candles will be lit across Scotland as part of events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

    The sign "Arbeit macht frei" at the main gate to the Auschwitz concentration camp Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January to mark the liberation of Auschwitz

    Victims of the Nazis and people killed in genocides since World War Two will be remembered.

    Events are taking place from Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides to Langholm in Dumfriesshire.

    07:13: Breaking News

    Rangers say they have accepted a £10m loan from Mike Ashley's Sports Direct retail company to relieve the "perilous" financial state of the club.

    @RichwilBBC Rangers latest Richard Wilson BBC Scotland

    RIFC board decide to take £10m loan from Mike Ashley's Sports Direct

    @BBCScotWeather Snow on the way... BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Tomorrow: Frequent snow showers across the country, 5-10cm at low levels, 10cm+ high ground. Drifting & blizzards in strong/gale force winds. Met Office yellow warning issued for snow across the country tomorrow, tomorrow night and Thursday. Details here: bit.ly/1bKtGsm



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