Why the Forth Road Bridge is not the solution to Queensferry Crossing congestion

Edinburgh Councillor Scott Arthur says the suggestion of re-opening the Forth Road Bridge to cars to relieve congestion is a big mistake.


Two things belong firmly in the 1980s. The first is the mullet haircut, and the second is the belief that simply adding capacity to a road network will relieve congestion. Whilst Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP may have a fine hairstyle, his views on transportation are firmly stuck in the 1980s.

Whilst the delays on the Queensferry Crossing are frustrating, adding capacity substantially beyond that provided by the Forth Road Bridge is not the solution. Doing so simply moves the bottleneck closer to Edinburgh. We’d have longer queues on St Johns Road and Queensferry Road – key arterial routes cutting through Mr Cole-Hamilton’s constituency that are already overloaded and have significant air quality problems.

These problems notwithstanding, experience and the theory of induced demand tells us that simply increasing capacity will generate more traffic, more congestion and more air pollution.

Furthermore, suggesting taking buses off the bridge will solve the problem shows he’s missing the point. It is not buses that are the problem, it’s the lack of viable alternatives to using a car.

We should be thinking about how we can make bus and train travel across the Firth of Forth better, quicker and cheaper. Where commuting by car is the only option, we should have real incentives for car sharing. This is the solution, not fueling the fire by providing more capacity for cars.

We need a regional transport policy which has people at its heart, not the motor car. That should be about better public transport in and around our capital, better cycle routes across the city and safer walking routes in our communities. This is a choice between uniting the Edinburgh City Region with a sustainable travel network, or dividing communities with congested roads.

If we can build a £1.35bn bridge, we can design a sustainable transport policy fit for Scotland’s capital. However, we can’t do that using ideas discredited in the 1980s.

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7 thoughts on “Why the Forth Road Bridge is not the solution to Queensferry Crossing congestion

  1. Commuters commute. People travel for work/leisure/play. Shoppers shop. Tourists tour.
    Its all logically predictable, but people usually reside where they can afford housing, or prefer country to town, or take their children to “better” schools. Villages exist where there used to be pits/ tanneries/ brick works or other industries of the past. So mass transit is a “good thing” when people are massed in a single zone. But they often prefer to take their own car when they can–certainly as the initial part of their journey on a park and ride scheme.
    So—-shuttle trains to Edinburgh? Fast water transport across the Forth? Perhaps relocate some office work to Dunfermline/Fife?
    Why is Scotland so confined ( restricted is perhaps a better word) to relatively small cities when we have mile after mile of empty land?
    We will soon be in a new age of electric/hybrid/hydrogen powered transport. Let us start planning for a better future now. England has tens of billions to spend on High Speed Rail/Crossrail etc. Should we not collectively ask for our share of infrastructure moneys to suit Scottish priorities?
    Our roads are largely built where a thousand years of horse and cart traffic went: our rail network is 19th century infrastructure: our airports 20th century.
    We have a government and local authorities. Trouble is our parties publically agree on nothing (whether they actually agree or not), so every decision becomes political, and is whipped up (to the delight of our colonial media) far beyond the merit of any disputation.

  2. “England has tens of billions to spend on High Speed Rail/Crossrail etc. Should we not collectively ask for our share of infrastructure moneys to suit Scottish priorities?”

    You don’t have to ask for extra £££, we’ll get Barnett consequential funding for HS2. The colonial media:

    Same goes for Crossrail. What are the SNP spending it on?

    1. Oh well if its the Daily Heil that guarantees it then its a cert. Just as it was when we were promised everything else that hasn’t been delivered.

      You’re not a fantasist you’re just a wilful mouthpiece for UK state lies and propaganda. No UK Government is ever going to give Scotland “extra” funding while it employs an ideological philosophy of cutting our funding.

      If Labour were in charge of Holyrood they wouldn’t even bother to ask they would instead send any and all underspends back to Westminster.

      And still Labour aparatchiks in Scotland promote the idea of a Tory London Government subsidising Scotland in the middle of an ongoing austerity drive where everything but warmongering Trident renewal and PFI PPP payments is cut to the bone.

      People like you Scott Arthur absolutely fucking disgust me to the core.

    2. You got it, DrScott. “The colonial media—the Daily Mail”. Personally I wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of an Anglo-centric, neo fascist newspaper, but hey, you read what you want to!
      And if it chimes with your prejudices, all the better for you.

  3. Welcome back Gavin and the rain and wind is here as well I told you.
    I don’t live in Edinburgh haven’t been able to go for years . I agree with what you say thuough

    1. Thanks David. Sunshine is nice and fairly cheers you up. However we have WEATHER in Scotland, and as an Ayrshire lad I’m well used to it.
      Never too hot, never too cold, but waaay too wet!

  4. I would dearly love to see a solution that doesn’t involve a Bridge. I would also love to know how any Government gets people to share cars or FORCES them to use public transport at cost. Perhaps troop road blocks? Anti tank mines? Tire spikes? a 2 tier car ownership policy based on your wealth?

    Once again we see another Labour drone trying desperately to develop an SNP bad pitch from a historic achievement. A gift to the people of Scotland brought in under budget.

    If we want to provide a comparison to Labour in Scotland we only have to go to North Lanarkshire where 6 community centres and 6 Libraries have been cut while the Labour council spends 729 million on PFI contracts which deliver schools worth about 1/5th the cost.

    Lets hope they last longer and are far safer than the previous Schools Labour built through PFI contracts. Not much chance of that though. Same old brown envelope politics. Same old Labour councils.

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