Nick Dekker (Letters, January 9) asks why a Forth tunnel has been estimated at £4.5bn when Glendoe can be built for a small fraction of that. Having asked for a breakdown of this cost, I can confirm that it is made up of a remarkably round £1bn for the actual tunnel and all the rest being for "optimism bias" (no, I don't know either), "contingency fees", "inflation at 7.5% annually", access roads, unspecified "capital charges" and so on.

The cynical might suspect that this price has been ramped up to make the cost of a bridge, at £4.2bn (itself up from £314m in today's money for the last bridge), look good. This view is reinforced by the fact that, over the past two decades, the Norwegians have built 704km of tunnels at £3.5m-£10.5m per km.

This would mean that they could cut a Forth tunnel for one-hundredth of what we can. Let's hire the Norwegians or Germans.

Neil Craig, 200 Woodlands Road, Glasgow.

The Eiksund tunnel in Norway is about the same length as the one needed to cross the Forth and the cost is a fraction of the £4.5bn. It is a three-lane tunnel but it looks as though you could build two and still come away with a few billion in change in your pocket. The disparity between the cost of tunnelling in Norway and Scotland needs to be explained by Transport Scotland before we go ahead with the bridge.

Maggie Jamieson, 37 Echline Place, South Queensferry