The new Forth Replacement Crossing has been through several years of debate on its way to an eventual completion date in 2016. But now that the project is under-way, contractors are winning the 252 contracts attached to the building works.
The cable-stayed bridge is being erected to the west of the existing Forth Road Bridge. The old bridge will stay open to carry public transport, while the new structure will handle all other traffic.
With 118 contracts now awarded, and hundreds of jobs expected to be created over the lifespan of the crossing, the Forth Replacement Crossing is helping to emphasise the value to a local economy of investment in good infrastructure.
Cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, Alex Neil MSP commented: “I am delighted to see that local Scottish firms have already benefitted to the tune of £20 million. The project is expected to support over 1,200 new jobs during its construction.”
Much further south, the Dartford Crossing is set to benefit from £42.3 million of investment.
A new project will see a new electronic system for payment designed, built and operated with the aim of easing congestion.
The Dartford Crossing suffers badly from congestion with some 50 million vehicles using it each year. The Department for Transport (DfT) produced data suggesting that the crossing operated above its design capacity on 257 days of the year in 2010 and that the average delay is seven to 11 minutes on the slowest 10 per cent of journeys.
DfT hopes to have the new charging system to be in place by the end of 2013.
A bridge of a very different kind is set for an upgrade in Snowdonia National Park, after approval was granted to plans to upgrade a bridge crossing that straddles the park boundaries.
The existing grade II-listed wooden viaduct at Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, is set to be demolished and replaced with a new structure.
Erected in 1860, Pont Briwet carries a single track rail line and a single lane toll road over the River Dwyryd. However, while the history of the bridge is significant, Gwynedd Council feels that replacing it will result in a number of benefits for the local area, and it has become uneconomical to repair.
Once completed the new bridge will be toll free, support two lanes of traffic, accommodate heavier vehicles that are now detoured around the crossing and increase train speeds to 40 mph.
Meanwhile, bridges are not the only river crossings benefiting from investment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced support for as proposed new road tunnel under the Thames, linking key regenerations zones in North Greenwich and Silvertown Quays.
The project is some way from realisation, with a process of assessment and consultation still needed before it can move forward. However, the new scheme has been backed by the Chancellor, and by London Mayor Boris Johnson. The scheme had also been supported in principle by the previous Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who is standing for election against Boris Johnson in May.