Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Forth Road Bridge: Broken cables 'no cause for alarm'

Forth Road Bridge Image copyright PA
Image caption An acoustic monitoring system was installed in 2006 after the discovery of corrosion within the main cables

A large rise in the number of broken cables on the Forth Road Bridge is "no cause for alarm", according to Transport Minister Derek Mackay.

Acoustic monitoring software installed in 2006 has recorded a total of 93 cable breaks - but 24 of these happened in the past three months.

Mr Mackay told MSPs the cables "were perfectly fine in terms of carrying the bridge and the traffic on the bridge".

He said there would be a comprehensive investigation in May and June.

The minister said: "That will be more intrusive and in-depth, and give us further information with which to make a judgement.

"Clearly, some of the cracks that will have appeared will be worthy of further investigation but we are still of the opinion that there is no immediate concerns around safety, and cables are perfectly fine in terms of carrying the bridge and the traffic on the bridge.

"Of course, there will be ongoing monitoring and investigation, and the works that we have put in place in terms of the dehumidification will prevent further deterioration."

Concerns over the suspension cables on the 50-year-old bridge were a factor in the decision to build a new £1bn Forth crossing, which is due to open in 2016.

The Queensferry crossing will take all the general traffic that currently uses the Forth Road Bridge.

The suspension bridge will be converted to carry buses, taxis, cyclists and walkers, significantly reducing the load on the ageing structure.

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