The stooshie following the outcome of the high-profile Queensferry Crossing ballot seems to prove yet again that only in Scotland can we turn a positive into a negative.
Let’s get this completely straight: the bridge, unlike the Forth Road Bridge, has no pedestrian walkway, so the opportunity for members of the public to cross it on foot before it fully opens to traffic truly is a unique experience.
Lucky draws, by their very nature, have winners and losers, so when it emerged that more than 226,000 individuals were vying for just 50,000 spots on the “once in a lifetime” walk over the bridge in September, simple maths tells you that there was bound to be more people left disappointed than there were overcome with joy.
So it proved. My Facebook timeline on Thursday lit up with folk posting pictures of their congratulatory e-mail, while my inbox – aside from the usual garbage – didn’t play ball.
For me, it was a simple shrug of the shoulders and I’ll find something else to do that weekend. I’m pretty sure my wedding anniversary falls on the 2nd anyway…..
And pardon the bridge pun, but I’ll get over it.
Having said that though, the FOMO displayed by literally thousands of people on either side of the Forth was tangible.
Fifty thousand folk were in the “have” category, but the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ consumed many of the 176,000 others who were sadly unsuccessful in the ballot.
Indeed, a Fife-based petition was set up calling for the opportunity to be widened out from beyond just the two days in September to perhaps four or five days – or even two weekends.
Just enough to give all those who wanted to walk the bridge the chance to do so.
It’s a fair point to be honest.
A lot of public money has been spent and a lot of people have endured a fair bit of disruption to get this far, so why not give people what they want?
Maybe the process should have taken into account demand ahead of supply, rather than being rigid with the 50,000.
But I also see it from Transport Scotland’s viewpoint.
Safety and security has to be paramount, especially in this day and age, and a balance had to be struck between providing access for this special opportunity, delivering the new bridge for its originally intended purpose and managing the impact of the event on local communities.
Doing it on a single weekend, they argued, will also minimise the impact on the trunk road network, while local people will also still have the chance to take part in the opening celebrations themselves.
I’m genuinely sitting on the fence on this one.
But you just hope that, in 50 years’ time, future mums and dads will look at their kids, point to the bridge, and say: “That’s an incredible feat of engineering we should all be proud of.”
Rather than: “That’s the bridge your mum and I were telt we couldnae cross 50 years ago…..”