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26/06/13 09:38

It's the Queensferry Crossing

First Minister hails 'bridge to the future' as he reveals name of forth crossing

A major new bridge over the Firth of Forth will be named the Queensferry Crossing, after securing more than a third of votes in a public ballot.

First Minister Alex Salmond revealed the outcome of the ‘Name the Bridge’ public vote which attracted around 7,600 unique suggestions and more than 37,000 votes during a seven-month process to find a permanent name for the new Forth replacement road crossing.

Mr Salmond was viewing construction progress of what he described as a “bridge to the future” on the site of the southern landing point by South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The project is on time and on budget, being due for completion by the end of 2016 and within a total estimated cost range of £1.45-to-£1.6 billion – a substantial reduction on the previous estimate of £1.7-to-£2.3 billion.

The project will employ up to 1,200 people directly in addition to the immediate boost to the local economy during construction. Community benefit clauses introduced by the Scottish Government mean that, by the end of January the project had generated some 160 places for vocational and professional body training and the long-term unemployed. By the end of 2012, a total of 334 Scottish firms had been directly awarded subcontracts or supply orders.

The First Minister said: “The Forth replacement crossing is the country’s biggest and most significant transport infrastructure project for decades and I’m delighted that the naming process has enabled so many thousands of people to get involved and rightly feel a sense of ownership for a bridge that will serve Scotland and its economy for many years to come.

“With some 7,600 unique name suggestions received and more than 35,000 votes cast, it is clear that the new crossing has captured people’s imagination. It was Queen Margaret in the 11th Century who introduced a ferry to carry pilgrims across the Forth, giving the communities on either side of the Firth their name. The public’s choice of ‘Queensferry Crossing’ reflects the area’s rich history and the continuing link between the two communities on the estuary’s north and south banks.

“This project is providing many opportunities for jobs and investment in Scotland and, having visited the works and spoken with those building the Queensferry Crossing and connecting roads, I’ve been impressed by the dedication and expertise of those involved in such a major feat of civil engineering in often challenging weather conditions.

“This part of Scotland is already an internationally-renowned location with two bridges representing the cutting edge of engineering in the 19th and 20th centuries respectively. The Queensferry Crossing is a bridge to the future; when complete in 2016, it will take its place alongside the other iconic bridges over the Forth estuary, while safeguarding and improving a vital connection in the country's transport network and playing a key role in Scotland’s economic success.”

Notes to editors

Video, audio clips and photos from the naming ceremony will be available later today for free download from the following websites:

The ‘Name the Bridge’ results conclude a hugely-popular process which started in November with a nomination phase attracting 7,600 unique suggestions from the public. An independent panel comprising figures representing a wide section of Scottish public life then identified a shortlist of five names. On April 29, Transport Minister Keith Brown announced the shortlist and kicked off six weeks of voting by the public to find the most popular name.

Name the Bridge voting ran from April 29 to June 7, 2013. The number of votes cast for each nomination are as follows:
• Queensferry Crossing 12,039 (35.5 per cent)
• Caledonia Bridge 10,573 (31.2 per cent)
• St Margaret’s Crossing 7,146 (21.1 per cent)
• Saltire Crossing 2,046 (6 per cent)
• Firth of Forth Crossing 2,087 (6.2 per cent)
• Total verified votes 33,891
• Total Unverified votes 3,757
• Total votes cast 37,648

Each voting method included verification – email address, mobile phone number and name + postal address – to help eliminate multiple voting as far as possible.

Separating Edinburgh and Fife on Scotland’s east coast, the Firth of Forth is the estuary where the River Forth flows into the North Sea. The villages of North Queensferry and South Queensferry, on either bank of the Firth of Forth, are both named after Queen (Saint) Margaret who established a ferry to carry pilgrims travelling to St Andrews and Dunfermline in Fife in the 11th century.

Despite significant investment and maintenance since it opened in 1964, the current Forth Road Bridge is showing signs of significant deterioration and is no longer deemed viable as the long-term main crossing of the Firth of Forth. Work on the state-of-the-art new bridge is well underway and, when complete in 2016, the Queensferry Crossing will take its place alongside the illustrious and famed Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge and safeguard a vital connection in the country's transport network.

Three of the four main elements of the project have now been delivered, including major upgrades to road connections on either side of the Forth. Construction work for the bridge itself and connecting road works are making excellent progress. Last week Audit Scotland’s report into major transport projects highlighted the replacement crossing’s sound project management and recognised that construction remains on budget and on target.