With regard to the Forth Road Bridge you asked for the following information:
1) How long is the bridge intended to be closed to all car traffic?
2) How many vehicles are currently crossing the bridge in an average day/week/month?
3) What is the current annual maintenance cost of keeping the bridge open to limited vehicles?
4) Is any major capex expenditure planned on the bridge over the next five years and if so, at what estimated total cost?
5) What is the planned life expectancy of the bridge?
6) What will happen to the bridge at the end of its life - will it be dismantled?
7) If so, is there an estimated cost for this?
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
Response to your request
1) The bridge is not closed to all car traffic and remains open as a dedicated public transport corridor as detailed in the following Access Restrictions (theforthbridges.org). There is no intention to change the current access restrictions. Notably Forth Road Bridge provides public access to cyclists and pedestrians across the Forth Estuary.
2) In 2023 Average Daily Traffic is 648 vehicles per day.
3) The information you have requested is available from the Forth Road Bridges website at Forth Road Bridge Maintenance (theforthbridges.org). Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
4) Major capital expenditure schemes are programmed over the next five years including:
- Main Tower Lateral Thrust Bearing.
- Main Cable Dehumidification System Upgrade.
- Main Cable internal inspection planned for 2024/2025.
- Forth Road Bridge Viaduct Footway waterproofing and resurfacing.
Projected spend in financial year 2023/2024 is £2.9 million. The budget for the next four financial years has not been decided at this time.
5) Bridges are generally designed for a minimum of 120 years design life. Opened in 1964 the Forth Road Bridge would be expected to serve until at least 2084. The bridge life is not limited to 120 years and with the correct level of maintenance the bridge can be operated safely indefinitely.
6&7) There is no expected end of life for the Forth Road Bridge therefore plans have not been put in place. There have been no derived figures for the cost for dismantling and construction of a new bridge, but the costs would be substantial when compared to maintenance costs.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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