Why so costly?

Hamish Macdonell (Debate & Opinion, 13 January) was spot-on: the Forth Road Bridge cost £20 million in 1964 and is worth £280 million in 2009. However, he did not question why the new bridge is to cost more than eight times the cost of the original. It is ironic that, due to the financial situation, the price of steel has plummeted close to 1964 prices, and it is amazing how everyone has accepted the extortionate cost of £2.34 billion without question.

That the Welsh got a six-lane, motorway-standard bridge, at twice the length of the Forth's proposed four-lane one, for a mere 300 million under a PFI scheme with Laings seems not to have registered at Holyrood or Westminster. Holyrood has even more reason to question the cost when the Scottish Government's own renowned financial adviser, Professor John Kay, has already "expressed astonishment" at the proposed cost. As a cable-stayed structure, even after the price was virtually halved from 4.2 billion, it remains by far the world's most expensive – before the finance is sorted.


Halbeath Road

Dunfermline, Fife