The SNP ignored warnings about ice build-up during the planning of the Queensferry Crossing, and now face a race against time to install them before next winter.
Shocking parliamentary responses have revealed that the SNP government were warned about the risk presented to the Queensferry Crossing from ice build-up on the cables.
In addition, the responses show that installation of the essential ice sensors on the bridge will cost taxpayers £430,000, and that motorists will have to wait at least 6 months for the sensors to be supplied.
These revelations were contained within written answers to Dean Lockhart, Scottish Conservative shadow business and transport secretary.
In the responses, the SNP government have admitted to knowing about the potential for falling ice on the Queensferry Crossing but decided that the issue would be best addressed by “weather forecasting”.
A further response states that the cost of the ice sensors is approximately £430,000 and that the sensors will take at least 6 months to be supplied. This means that motorists will not be protected from falling ice for the rest of this winter, and the SNP faces a race against time to install them before next winter.
As a result of ice falling from the bridge this winter, several cars were hit when crossing the bridge. This caused the closure of the bridge for two days causing transport chaos and severely impacting motorists and businesses.
Dean Lockhart, Scottish Conservative shadow business and transport secretary said:
“It really beggars belief that the SNP government chose to rely on ‘weather forecasting’ to ensure the safety of motorists.
“Now the SNP faces a race against time to get these essential ice sensors into place – at a significant cost to the taxpayer.
“Despite the SNP’s massive fanfare, this bridge has been beset by problems and snagging since it opened.
“The SNP clearly rushed to get this bridge finished and put the safety of commuters a distant second.”
Notes to editors:
The full questions can be found here –
S5W-27510 - Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government what consideration was given in relation to ice falling on the Queensferry Crossing during the design and building of the bridge
Michael Matheson: The potential for falling ice from a cable-stayed bridge at this location was recognised and considered during design development. In common with practice on similar structures elsewhere in the world at the time, it was decided that this issue would be best addressed by developing appropriate operational practices, such as weather forecasting and visual inspection. In coming to this view Transport Scotland obtained expert advice from technical experts with worldwide experience in the design and operation of such bridges.
S5W-27513 - Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government what the estimated cost is of installing ice monitors and sensors on the Queensferry Crossing, and how long it will take to install these.
Michael Matheson: The estimated cost of installing weather and ice sensors on the Queensferry Crossing is approximately £430,000. The order for supply and installation of the sensors has been placed. As it can take up to six months for the sensors to be supplied, it is expected that they will be installed in time for the next Winter.