HC Deb 01 December 1959 vol 614 cc983-4
11. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans his Department have made for the swift carriage of through-traffic off the south end of the Forth road bridge, and for its diversion from the centre of Edinburgh.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Niall Macpherson)

This is a matter in the first place for Edinburgh Corporation which has included in its development plan an outer circular road and, as a long term project, a new City by-pass. As to the former, my right hon. Friend is ready to assist the Corporation to carry it out, and work is already in progress on part of it. As to the latter, he is not aware of any evidence at present available that there will be a substantial volume of traffic wishing to avoid Edinburgh such as would justify the expenditure of so great a sum of money.

Mr. Stodart

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is considerable anxiety in the City of Edinburgh at the prospect of what people believe to be a large increase in heavy traffic that will come over the Forth road bridge, and the thought of it coming to the bottleneck of the Dean Bridge and Queen Street and other thoroughfares which were never intended to carry it; that the present ring road is extremely tortuous, badly surfaced and narrow, and that a by-pass is regarded as an essential complement to the Forth road bridge?

Mr. Macpherson

As I have said, the development plan includes also an outer circular road. The extent of the use of a by-pass is uncertain, and it seems worth while to wait until we have definite evidence as to how much it is likely to be used.

12. Mr. Stodart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with the progress being made in the erection of the Forth road bridge; and if he will make a statement.

38. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the Forth road bridge may not now be completed till the autumn of 1964; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. N. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend is quite satisfied with the progress of work on the Forth road bridge. The contract for the main structure is due to be completed at the end of 1963 and he has no reason to believe that this date will not be met. The contracts for the approach roads and viaducts have still to be placed. They will be phased to meet this date.

I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement giving some details of progress to date.

Mr. Stodart

Whilst thanking my hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask whether he realises that there has been a certain amount of confusion engendered by the speech of the Lord Mayor of London, which was widely reported last week, to the effect that it was his belief that the Forth road bridge would not be completed until a year behind schedule, in 1964?

Mr. Macpherson

My information is that it is more likely that the road bridge will be completed before the scheduled date.

Following is the statement: Work on Contract No. 1 for the piers, foundations and anchorages is up to date. The side tower on the north is virtually complete and work has started on the side tower on the south for which the same erection plant is being used. Work on the construction of the foundations for the two main towers of the bridge is proceeding satisfactorily. Excavation for the anchorage tunnels on both sides is virtually complete and the assembly of the internal steel work in the south tunnel is in hand. Under Contract No. 2, which is for the superstructure of the bridge, most of the steel required for the main towers has been ordered and shop fabrication of the steel has started. I understand that work under Contract No. 2 is likely to commence on the site early in 1960.
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