Nine in ten bridges on Scotland’s main roads have defects that require repairs – and the cost to fix them has increased by more than half since 2009, The Scotsman reports.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson recently admitted that most of the road bridges in Scotland were in need of repair.
However, the cost of carrying out the work has shot up to £570 million in the last eight years.
Scottish Labour, which released the figures, said the situation is likely to “leave many members of the public worried”.
The data reveals that 1,720 of 1,933 bridges (88.9 per cent) on the trunk road network require repair work.
More worryingly, it remains unclear when the backlog of outstanding bridge repairs – which are operated by the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency – would be cleared.
Mr Matheson said he was unable to estimate a timescale for the bridge maintenance backlog due to the calculation being dependent on a number of unknown variables, such as future funding levels, deterioration rates and network availability.
“We will continue to use well-developed asset management practices to ensure the areas of most need are prioritised to keep the trunk road network safe and available for use,” he commented.
Just weeks before the figures emerged, Transport Scotland’s chief bridge engineer Hazel McDonald called for a major boost in funding “to prevent issues becoming critical”, urging the current £64 million annual budget to be increased towards £100 million over the next few years.
Public spending watchdog Audit Scotland reports that the repair backlog grew from £60 million to £372 million between 2004 and 2010.
Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, added: “Safety on Scotland’s roads should never be neglected, so the transport secretary should clarify the severity of these bridge defects and listen to the warnings over a lack of investment.”