Opposition politicians have rounded on the SNP after it emerged the Forth Road Bridge would be shut until the New Year.
North East MSP Alex Johnstone branded the closure a “scandal”, while Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie demanded that the Scottish Government immediately publish its “contingency plan” for the closure of the crossing.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said the decision to shut the bridge until 2016 was made following a conference call with Nicola Sturgeon.
He insisted the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to resolve the situation – but that they faced no choice but to shut the bridge.
Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said: “The Forth Road Bridge is one of Scotland’s key routes and it is a scandal that it will now be closed until the new year.
“Although the repairs are necessary for the safety of the public, the fact that the decision has been taken to close it for so long, shows a complete lack of forward-thinking by Derek Mackay and the SNP government.
“The closure will have a devastating impact on Scotland’s economy, not to mention the many commuters who rely on the crossing for their livelihoods.
“It will no doubt cause traffic chaos this winter.”
Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Willie Rennie added: “We need to be reassured that everything is being done to manage the disruption as best possible.
“That starts with the publication of Transport Scotland’s full contingency plans.”
Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, Alex Rowley, said the Scottish Government were right to close the bridge.
He added: “The SNP Government should outline what support measures will be in place for business and jobs over the coming month in a statement to Parliament as early as possible next week.”