An artists impression of the new Forth Road Bridge (right)

An artists impression of the new Forth Road Bridge (right)

The principal contract to build a new Forth Road Bridge in Scotland, plus connecting roads, is expected to be in the region of UK£ 900 million to UK£ 1,2 billion (€ 1 billion to € 1,4 billion) and will be awarded in April next year.

This comes after Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) voted overwhelmingly this week in favour of a replacement for the existing Forth Road Bridge.

The Forth Crossing Bill was praised by MSPs for bringing forward proposals for a world-class, 21st Century crossing to replaces the Forth Road Bridge as the main route for traffic across the Firth of Forth, close to Edinburgh on the east coast of Scotland.

It was said that because of the deterioration of the main suspension cables and other ongoing maintenance issues, the existing Forth Road Bridge could not continue as the main crossing for cross-Forth traffic and might have had to close to some vehicles by 2017. Under the current proposals, however, it would be retained as a dedicated public transport corridor for buses, cycles and taxis.

According to Transport Scotland, the country's national transport agency, by protecting this strategically vital transport link, the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC) will secure over 3000 jobs and economic revenue of £ 1,3 billion (€ 1,5 billion). It will also deliver additional economic benefits through the creation of hundreds of jobs and sub-contracting opportunities for local firms, estimated by the British Chambers of Commerce to be worth around £ 6 billion (€ 7,1 billion) to Scotland's economy.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said, "The FRC project is absolutely vital for the future growth of Scotland's economy and will also provide an immediate boost to the construction industry and associated sub contractors.

"This is a huge step for a huge infrastructure project - the biggest that Scotland has seen for a generation."

With approval by the Scottish Parliament, the FRC is on track and on target to be delivered in 2016.

The FRC will be the third major structural crossing of the lower Forth and is described as a world-class 21st century structure to sit alongside the iconic Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge from the 19th and 20th centuries.

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