New Forth crossing jobs pledge as contracts detailed
Building the new Forth replacement crossing means "jobs, jobs, jobs" for Scotland, according to the cabinet secretary for infrastructure.
The crossing, being built by The Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors Consortium, is due to be finished in 2016.
Alex Neil insisted that much of the work would go to Scottish businesses.
He said the project would support more than 1,200 new jobs during its construction and protect up to 3,000.
Mr Neil said that more than £20m worth of sub-contracts had now been awarded to 118 Scottish firms, with 134 contracts being advertised.
The crossing is costing £790m. The Forth crossing project, which includes motorway upgrades is to cost between £1.45bn and £1.6bn.
Mr Neil said: "I am delighted to see that local Scottish firms have already benefited to the tune of £20m from opportunities created by the Forth Replacement Crossing project.
"The project is expected to support over 1,200 new jobs during its construction and protect up to Scottish 3,000 jobs that would otherwise be at risk if the current Forth Road Bridge had to close without a replacement crossing in place.
"The crossing is an absolutely essential project for Scotland's sustainable economic growth.
"Scotland's economy is strengthening and continued progress on this project clearly demonstrates that the Scottish government's robust actions on capital investment and supporting jobs are delivering real results."
David Miller, BBC Scotland's transport correspondent, said: "This is the biggest construction project we have seen in Scotland for a generation.
"Up until now there has not been much to see at the site of the new crossing.
"However, that is set to change as construction work steps up a gear in 2012."
The new crossing will incorporate state of the art wind-shielding to ensure it will remain open to traffic during the sort of extreme high winds that shut the road bridge earlier in December, meaning less diversions and disruption for motorists and the travelling public.
Scottish Labour's Infrastructure and Capital Investment spokesman, Richard Baker, said: "This much-needed boost for our construction industry is welcome and I hope local firms will continue to benefit from this substantial project.
"It is vital that firms in Scotland benefit from an ambitious capital programme in Scotland, and we hope this continues to be the case in relation to the Forth Replacement Crossing."
He added: "Our regret is that this is not happening more widely across the country and that more firms are not benefiting in this way. In too many instances major transport and infrastructure projects have been delayed or there is no timetable for their completion."