Despite significant investment and maintenance over its lifetime, the current Forth Road Bridge is showing signs of deterioration and is not suitable as the long-term main crossing of the Firth of Forth. The FRC is designed to safeguard this vital cross-Forth connection in Scotland's transport network.
Construction will commence in Autumn 2011 following the completion of a two-year procurement process that has delivered significant savings on the scheme’s previous expected cost.
All three main contracts that make up the FRC project have now been awarded, with all three successful bids coming in under budget.
The Principal Contract to build the new bridge and connecting roads was awarded to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium with a successful tender price of £790m, significantly below the original estimated price range of £900 to £1.2 billion.
The contract to install elements of the project’s Intelligent Transport System (ITS) on the M90 in Fife was awarded to John Graham (Dromore) Ltd, with a successful tender price of £12.9 million, below the original £15m to £22m estimated range.
Finally, the contract to upgrade M9 Junction 1a at Kirkliston has been awarded to a consortium between John Sisk and Roadbridge with a successful tender price of £25.6m, again substantially below the estimated price range of £45m to £65m.
The lower than expected costs of these contracts means the total estimated cost range of delivering the FRC project is now £1.45 billion to £1.60 billion, a substantial reduction on the previous estimate of £1.7 billion to £2.3 billion.
The FRC project is currently on track to be delivered in 2016 and will replace the current Forth Road Bridge as the main crossing for cross-Forth traffic.
The Forth Replacement Crossing Study was undertaken during 2006 and 2007 to identify the most favourable option for a replacement crossing. Five potential crossing corridors were identified and appraised for suitability according to a range of factors.
Following this study, the Scottish Government determined that the FRC would be a cable-stayed bridge to the west of the existing Forth Road Bridge.
During 2008 Transport Scotland carried out further work to develop the crossing strategy and concluded that the existing Forth Road Bridge could be retained as a dedicated public transport corridor; with the replacement crossing carrying all other traffic.
In November 2009 Scottish Ministers introduced the Forth Crossing Bill to the Scottish Parliament. The Bill contained the Scottish Government's proposals for the FRC and was approved by MSPs on 15 December 2010. Royal Assent was received on 20 January 2011, with the Forth Crossing Act coming into force on 18 March 2011.
This website is updated regularly to provide the latest project information. Frequently asked questions and answers are also available.
For more information on the Forth Bridge, Forth Rail Bridge and the forthcoming FRC, please see the Forth Bridges Forum.