THE 1.7-mile Queensferry Crossing, which opened in 2017 at a cost of £1.3 billion, was the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and by far the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span. Exposed to extreme weather with open sea conditions, the vast increase in elaborate cabling magnified many times the risk of icing which had already dogged the Forth Road Bridge.

As it was a vanity project, the advice of international engineers that a tunnel would be cheaper, impervious to weather and make better use of the existing road network was rejected. Holyrood now faces the problem that there is currently no reliable method to deal with ice build-up on such a fancy, cable-stay bridge (“The Farce Road Bridge”, The Herald, February 12). It’s difficult to see how this catastrophe can be blamed on Westminster.

Rev Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.

THE Queensferry Crossing, and the Öresund Bridge in Denmark, are both award-winning bridges in Northern Europe and both have been temporary closed by ice forming on high cables. This is a problem which will need to be overcome but is not beyond engineering ability to find a solution.

The Queensferry Crossing was built on schedule and within budget by the SNP Government and is a credit to that Government. The Crossing was closed as a precaution yesterday (February 11) in particularly unusual weather conditions, conditions which saw the closure of the Severn Bridge and five other bridges in England. Not because any of these bridges are a farce but because, our engineers, skilled as they are, are not yet infallible.

You do not offer any clever engineering suggestions to address this problem; the Scottish and the Danish Governments will have to find the engineering answer themselves, which I’m sure they will. Perhaps you will make a special headline to welcome their success.

Andy Anderson, Saltcoats.

ACCORDING to Nicola Sturgeon, the Queensferry Crossing is required because “we have got to keep Fife connected to the rest of the country”.

Really? With a road system, albeit a bit long-winding, and another bridge (in fact two) isn’t Fife already pretty well connected?

What our leader really means is that the well-heeled of Edinburgh remain well connected to Fife.

I’m sure the residents of Arran, Barra, Colonsay, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Raasay, Skye and Uist (North and South) would appreciate a little of her connectivity concerns.

What do they put up with? Battered old Calmac ferries that break down and can’t cope with sea storms – not that the harbours are fit for purpose either.

Ms Sturgeon, Scotland doesn’t stop at Edinburgh Airport.

Alasdair Sampson, Stewarton.

THE First Minister has said that she would like to spend the £20 billion on the proposed Scotland/Northern Ireland

bridge at Holyrood ("Sturgeon pours scorn on Boris’s latest ‘bridge over sea’ idea", The Herald, February 12).

The discussion of such a huge project coming from the UK Government speaks volumes about its intentions. It has the potential to rejuvenate an entire region that has been largely neglected by the SNP due to being distant from the Central Belt.

The SNP can’t deal with mundane transport issues such as the condition of "A" and "B" roads in rural Scotland, which resemble the aftermath of a bombing raid. Or the overburdened A77 in Ayrshire which carries cargo lorries at all times of the day. Or the costs of rural train travel, which can see people, such as me, work for four days every month just to hand it to Scotrail.

But yet it still earnestly believes that it can embark on the most of ambitious engineering projects in decades better than anyone else?

David Bone, Girvan.

IN view of Boris Johnson suggesting a bridge between Portpatrick and Larne is a distinct possibility I suggest he carries out the following, not necessarily in the order I've put down:

A preliminary survey, a step by step analysis, a feasibility study, an in-depth investigation, an environmental impact study, research into the outcome, a background probe, a long-term legacy cheque, a cost benefit analysis, and a consumer benefit analysis.

He could also hold a consumer relationship debate.

This may prevent results like his Garden Bridge fiasco.

George Smith, Clydebank.

THERE is a fundamental reason why we should not spend at least £100 billion on HS2 and another £20bn on the mooted "Boris" bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland. Every single penny of that unnecessary expenditure will have to be borrowed and added to our colossal national debt of £2 trillion, the interest payments on which are already £1bn per week.

Instead of increasing expenditure, and no doubt increasing taxes too, the British Government should be looking to make savings.

The very first on the list should be to end the squandering of £14bn of taxpayers’ money on foreign aid each year. For example, why have we spent money in the nuclear powers China – the world’s second most powerful country and second largest economy – or India, which can afford a 182m Statue of Unity on a 58m plinth. The foreign aid budget should at the very least be cut to no more than £1bn including contingencies.

Your readers will no doubt be able to suggest other budgets that are in need of a stiff pruning.

Otto Inglis, Edinburgh EH4.