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Friday, June 29, 2007


Running a single tram line across Edinburgh will cost £600 million & the Labour, LibDem & Tory parties have outvoted the SNP administration to keep this boondoggle going.

EARL the proposed train link to Edinburgh Airport, officially costed at £610 million, but for which virtually no work has been done may be successfully canceled.

The previous Executive decided to spend £200 million on a rail link, agreed to be uneconomic between Glasgow airport & the city centre when they had an offer for a monorail link via Paisley station for £20 million.

A new Forth Bridge is being costed at £2.5 billion, far above previous estimates of about £1 billion.

By comparison the original road bridge - "Mott, Hay and Anderson and Freeman Fox & Partners designed and constructed the bridge at a cost to £11.5 million, while the total cost of the project including road connections and realignments was £19.5 million." There has therefore been an increase of 12,800% over 49 years - which comes out as 10.3% inflation ever year.

The proposal for a tunnel comes in at a figure I cannot believe is meant seriously but only to discourage interest in anything but a bridge - £4.7 billion.

This was discussed online in the Herald where I said:

"Previous estimates of a tunnel have been between £250 & $500 million & even this is very high compared to the cost of Norwegian tunnels at £3.5 ot £11 million per kilometre (11 kroner to the £ on the link). To claim that it will cost £4.7 billion is deliberate fraud.

We should ask international companies to publicly tender for a crossing & see what Bechtel & the like offer"

Someone else mentioned:

"Give the job of building a new forth road bridge to the French, The Millau viaduct is a beautiful example of French engineering and cost only £320,million!"

What set me off to put this on my blog an announcement today that by comparison with the expense of such projects here Germany & Denmark have just agreed to build a bridge costing £3.7 billion pounds.

It is a 20 kilometre bridge.

We are talking about public projects in Britain costing 10s, possibly several 10s of times what they cost abroad. I can see no technological reason for this & if anybody can think of a reason, other than a cosy relationship between favoured suppliers & the civil service involving massive fraud I would be interested to hear it.

For once I am with the EU - all such projects should be put out to tender & not with the self serving conditions used to fake a tendering process for MacBraynes (eg requiring ferries which, coincidentally, happened to be MacBraynes ferries) but instead with the broadest possible requirements viz "any form of crossing as long as it can carry the traffic".

UPDATE By comparison according to this site the modern price of something costing £19.50 should be £314.96 so the new proposal is 8 times more than the the present day cost of the original bridge.

Reminds me of a scene in I Claudius where Claudius, having been told Rome needs a new harbour & given estimates looks up the records for a similar scene in Octavian's time & finds that his civil servants have given him a vastly inflated figure.

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