Cut-price bridge plan announced

The Scottish transport minister has announced plans for a "value-for-money" bridge over the Forth of Firth.

The cost of the toll-free bridge had previously been estimated at £4.2 billion, but this has now been revised down to £2.34 billion.

Stewart Stevenson said the new cut-price bridge "is economically sound and a value-for-money solution."

The development of a new Forth road bridge is central to Scotland's transport strategy over the next two decades, which includes a multi-billion-pound package of road and rail improvements.

The dual carriageway crossing would be ready by 2016 if the Treasury approves the Scottish Government's spending plan to publicly fund the development.

The bridge was among 29 proposals outlined to improve Scottish infrastructure, including faster trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but the transport minister said the bridge "is a project of unprecedented recent scale and will be a massive part of our infrastructure programme."

Other plans include the construction of a station in the west of Edinburgh to connect passengers with trams and the airport and upgrading the A9 between Inverness and Perth to a dual carriageway.

The Aberdeen-Inverness A96 is also in line for improvements.

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