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Kessock Bridge

Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 25 May 1977

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6.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotand what is the latest estimate of the time scale in the construction of the Kessock Bridge; and if he will make his promised statement.

I have nothing to add to the reply that my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) on 28th April.

Does not the hon. Gentleman think that it is about time that he had something to add? Will he confirm or deny that the tenders that have been received for the Kessock Bridge two years after they were originally asked for appear to be £10 million lower than the original offers? Does this not indicate a gross lack of management by his Department of the criteria on which it asked for offers originally?

The hon. Gentleman knows that that is a lot of nonsense. He said at a previous Question Time that this matter was decided in 1971 and he knows which party was in power then. In the three years between 1971 and 1974 the Government of the day did nothing. We have gone as far as getting tenders, and we expect to choose a contractor once we have considered the tenders in great detail, possibly in about two months' time.

Will my hon. Friend try to ensure that the design of the bridge is more aesthetically pleasing than was the bridge built at Ballachulish?

It is recognised that previous tenders and designs were unacceptable. We now have positive tenders and they are being examined as quickly as possible. I cannot comment on the aesthetic quality of designs. I think that the desire of the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. Gray) and many others in the area is to get the bridge started as quickly as possible.

In view of the totally inadequate reply, I beg leave to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.