New bridge at Kincardine
The site for a second bridge over the Forth at Kinkardine was announced today.
The preferred route for the new forth crossing is through the former Kincardine Power Station, and will start from Bowtrees roundabout at the end of the M876. It will cross the river as a wide single carriageway, passing through disused coal yards of the old Power Station site, through adjoining farmland and again join the A977 in a double roundabout junction at Gartarry.
Iain Gray, Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning said the new bridge will complement the existing bridge and will improve traffic journeys across the Forth, improving the quality of life for local communities on either side of the estuary.
The Minister said:
"I am delighted to identify the route for the second Upper Forth crossing at Kincardine. This bridge, together with the package of improvements to the surrounding trunk roads, will radically transform transport links in the Forth Valley and Central Scotland and as a result bring substantial benefits to the local communities and to the local economy."
This new Forth crossing will be used by traffic to and from Alloa and the west and the north, with traffic to and from Fife and the East continuing to use the existing crossing and the new Eastern Link Road. This twin bridge strategy will relieve congestion, divert heavy vehicles from the village of Kincardine but avoid damage to the internationally important bird feeding grounds on the Estuary.
The preferred route will involve:
- grade separation of the existing Bowtrees roundabout
- upgrading of the existing A876 between Bowtress and existing Kincardine Bridge to dual carriageway
- construction of a new roundabout junction at Higgins Neuk
- construction of a new roundabout east of the existing Gartarry roundabout
Mr Gray continued:
"I know today's announcement will be welcomed by local residents in Kincardine, Airth, Clackmannan and Falkirk as well as road users in Fife as congestion in the Valley will be reduced substantially.
"Traffic conditions crossing the Forth will be eased and the quality and reliability of journeys vastly improved. Likewise in Kincardine Village the impact will be substantial as road safety and pollution problems currently experienced by village residents from existing continual traffic will be removed and the quality of life for local communities enhanced.
"The benefits for the local economy are also extremely significant as the transformation of the transport network will allow further employment creation north of the Forth, will help attract news businesses and will also retain existing employment in Fife and Clackmannanshire.
Charlene O'Connor, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley said:
"This is indeed excellent news not only for Forth Valley but for Central Scotland as a whole.
"The proposed route for a new bridge at Kincardine will be a welcome addition to the excellent transport infrastructure we already have in Forth Valley and I am confident it will bring significant economic benefits to the area."
Constructing a second bridge upstream of the existing Kincardine Bridge for Alloa traffic is part of a package of improvements to the transport network including construction of a Link Road to the south-east of Kincardine to remove Fife traffic from the village and the refurbishment of the existing bridge, including replacing the existing southern approach viaduct.
The preferred route for the crossing will avoid damage to the internationally important bird feeding grounds around the present bridge at the south bank near Kincardine.
The existing Kincardine Bridge opened in 1936 and until the Forth Road Bridge opened in 1964 was the furthest-downstream road link across the Forth Estuary. The bridge remains the furthest-downstream all-weather crossing of the Forth, and acts as a diversionary route during bad weather for vehicles restricted from using the Forth Road Bridge.
The existing bridge carries a heavily trafficked wide single carriageway with a high proportion of heavy goods vehicles. The existing bridge and the junctions within Kincardine village are unable to cope with the traffic volumes seeking to cross the Forth at Kincardine, resulting in queues forming on both sides of the Estuary at any time during the working day.
The ecology of the Forth Estuary is of international importance. The saltmarsh and mud flats of the estuary around Kincardine are bird-feeding grounds of international significance. On either side of the existing bridge the feeding grounds are a Special Protection Area under the European Habitat and Birds Directives.
Consultants were appointed in 1999 to take forward the detailed design of an upstream single carriageway crossing and to provide a Link Road around the south east corner of Kincardine. During the detailed design stage, consultations with Scottish Power indicated that an alternative route across the site of part of the former Kincardine Power Station would become available. Design work was taken forward on the earlier preferred route and the alternative to aid the choice of route.
The proposals for the Kincardine Eastern Link Road have been accelerated in advance of the proposed new crossing in order to bring benefits of improved road safety and a reduction in traffic congestion sooner to Kincardine. Bids for this project are currently being prepared with a view to starting construction in Summer 2003.
Draft Orders to promote the new crossing of the Forth at Kincardine will be published Summer 2003. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the statutory procedures, contractors will be invited to prepare bids for the £71m project by Summer 2005. The new bridge is expected to open to traffic in 2008. Essential repairs will then be made to the present structure prior to the full operation of the new network.
The Councils, the communities and the local MSP's are being consulted regarding the naming of the bridge.