It's Time for a New Forth Crossing
An SNP led government will undertake a swift assessment of rival bridge and tunnel options, engage in a front-ended public consultation, and ensure fast-tracking planning and parliamentary process so that an alternative crossing is in place before any restrictions on the current bridge.
The SNP has published a policy paper setting out the Party's approach to a new crossing.
Speaking at the Federation of Small Businesses fringe meeting this evening Mr Salmond will say:
"Clearly we cannot allow this crucial transport artery to be closed - even partially.
"It is the responsibility of government to deal quickly and effectively with the threat posed by the corrosion on the current Forth Bridge. Making the right decision on a replacement for the Forth Bridge is the most important transport task facing Scotland today.
"There is already widespread concern in the business community and frustration at the lack of leadership on this issue from the Labour - Liberal Democrat Executive. I can assure them that this will change and in government the SNP is ready to take the right decisions on issues of such national importance.
"The bottom line is that we cannot afford the chaos that will follow a partial or complete closure of the bridge. We must be in a position to give the immediate go-ahead for a replacement crossing - to be ready to cut the soil - if the engineering assessment of the current bridge's condition does confirm that we do need to introduce restrictions.
"It is time to end the uncertainty for Scottish business and commit to a new Forth crossing. That is the right decision for Scotland and it is a decision the SNP in government is prepared to take."
Commenting on the commitment, Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Bruce Crawford said:
"Construction must be ready to start so we can remove any risk of a period of closure, with the devastating effect that would have on the economy of Scotland and in particular the economy of the east coast and north of our country.
"The Forth Road Bridge is an essential artery for transport throughout east and central Scotland. Closing or restricting this route would impact on each and every alternative North-South route and create substantial difficulties, not only for businesses based on either side of the Forth but many major businesses in Scotland. That is unacceptable.
"This is the right decision for Fife and for all of Scotland."