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We have lift off

Published: 13 Sep 2015 00:01

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown hails a big week for Scottish projects.

The start of deck lifting on the Queensferry Crossing has rounded off a pivotal week for Scotland's transport network.

Following the official opening of the Borders Railway, and construction work commencing on the A9 dualling project, the complex process of lifting the first 800 tonne sections of deck into place on the Queensferry Crossing is now well underway. Last year, the initial sections where put in place on each of the towers, supported by large temporary trestles.

These deck segments have since been welded together and joined in place and the concrete deck added. More recently the first stay cables have also been fitted and tensioned to lift and support the weight of these initial sections.

More progress was on display earlier this week when lifting of the next deck units began - marking the process getting fully underway.

Mr Brown said:

"This has been a truly momentous week for our infrastructure projects right across Scotland. The Borders Railway opened, A9 dualling began and the Queensferry Crossing reached another important milestone.

"The opening of Borders Railway not only provided a party for people to remember - but many more opportunities for work, leisure, study and investment and business in the area and the wider Scottish economy.

"Construction work also began on the £3 billion project to upgrade 80 miles of the A9 between Perth and Inverness.

"This project will be one of the largest and most challenging infrastructure projects in Scotland's history. When the programme is complete, it will have enormous economic and social benefits for communities along the length of the road, and beyond.

"On the Queensferry Crossing deck lifting began in earnest and will see the filling of the gaps between the bridge's towers.

"This is the start of some spectacular engineering and as work progresses with further sections of deck lifted and cables attached, it will become even more of a remarkable sight.

"While the weather has been poor this year, especially wind conditions on the Forth, this is further evidence of the great job the workforce is doing to make such progress on the new bridge.

"All of these projects are examples of our record levels of investment in infrastructure and all of these projects are delivering significant opportunities for business and economic development.

"Looking more widely at our investment programme, as the First Minister confirmed in the Programme for Government, we will publish an updated Infrastructure Investment Plan later in the year.

"The Scottish economy has seen eleven consecutive quarters of growth, including Quarter 1 of 2015. Within that, Scottish Construction sector output saw very strong growth throughout 2014, reflected in the latest annual GVA growth figure of just over 21 per cent.

"Public sector investment made a very significant contribution to that growth and our plans to update the IIP underline the strength of the Scottish Government's long term commitment to infrastructure investment in Scotland."

Tomorrow the Infrastructure Secretary will announce details of multi-million pound sub-contracts awarded to date as part of the M8 M73 M74 Motorway Improvements Project.

As part of the Cabinet's visit to Coatbridge, Mr Brown will view progress on the new M8, adjacent to the existing A8 at Bargeddie.

Mr Brown said:

"Almost £144 million worth of sub-contracts have been procured through the Scottish Government portal, Public Contracts Scotland, since the start of work in February 2014.

"Over a hundred local Small-Medium Enterprises have benefitted from these contracts and many more will be indirectly employed and benefitting through the project's supply chain.

"We are now almost half way through the construction phase of this contract and there will be further opportunities to come for the local and national economy."

Notes to editors

  • A high quality video showing the concreting of a section of the Queensferry Crossing deck in Rosyth is available from the Queensferry Crossing youtube channel: https://youtu.be/fO-zhykuMCg
  • Pictures are attached showing the process of lifting the 800 tonne deck unit into place on the Queensferry Crossing's north tower earlier this week, supplied Courtesy of Transport Scotland
  • For further information on all of this project please visit: www.transportscotland.gov.uk