Plans to carry out repair work on the Forth Road Bridge have been brought forward after new faults were discovered, with a total of 28 nuts on the bolt assemblies now found to have cracked.
The bridge authority was set to put the contract for the work out to tender but will now negotiate directly with a preferred supplier in order to ensure work gets under way before winter.
A number of cracked nuts on the cable bands that hold the vertical hanger ropes to the main suspension cables were first discovered at the bridge back in 2007, leading to their replacement with £530,000 set aside to repair the remainder in due course.
But inspectors have identified an additional 17 cracked nuts this year and, although the most critical area has already been fixed and other emergency repairs scheduled, engineers say all of the cable band bolt assemblies should be redesigned and replaced.
With almost 1,000 heavy duty bolt assemblies needing to be replaced, it is estimated it will cost around £5 million to redesign and replace all of the cable band bolts and nuts.
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