WORK on the Forth Replacement Crossing on the southern side of the Forth is set to move up a gear in the months ahead.
Members of the public will see major construction work begin to take shape at Echline and Port Edgar while motorway construction will continue around Queensferry, close to the Dundas Estate.
And this week, the local community had the opportunity to hear and discuss the crossing project first hand when four public exhibitions were staged at the newly built Contact and Education Centre in Queensferry.
The event, staged by Transport Scotland and the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors, gave an insight as to how the bridge project is progressing since work began in Autumn 2011.
It highlighted the M90 motorway works in Fife, which cost £12.9 million, are complete as is the M9 Junction 1a at Kirkliston, (£25.6 million), which will officially open today (Friday). The contact and education centre is now fully operational and the premises will be shared with Traffic Scotland, which is set to relocate from Glasgow in March.
In and around Queensferry, locals will see major developments begin to take shape beyond the Springfield area. Work on the Southern Abutment, where the new bridge will link with land on the side, will begin this Spring. Concrete foundations are already being prepared and in May, massive steel sections, 90 metres in length, will begin to be laid and joined together, and make their way towards the Forth. Foundation works for the eight viaduct piers, which will be built on the south side of the Forth are also underway. These will carry the steel sections out over the Forth where they will eventually link up with deck sections which will project from the bridge’s southern tower.
At the proposed Echline Junction, work will continue to create an underpass, similar to Newbridge Roundabout. The A904 will remain open throughout the construction period and in April/May this year a new road will be created, linking the A904 to the minor road U221 (Westfield Farm), west of the proposed roundabout. Re-alignment and widening of the A904 east from Headrig Road east will begin in October with similar works being staged on Builyeon Road in early 2014. From Spring 2014, traffic on the A904 will then use the Echline Junction to continue their journey west towards Newton.
On the Forth itself, locals will see the new bridge begin to take shape as its three towers rise from the water this summer. Decking from the towers will not, however, begin until 2015.
David Climie, project director for the Forth Replacement Crossing, said this week: ‘‘It’s been a very successful year with both the Fife and Kirkliston junctions both completed within schedule. The year ahead will be very busy for the project as the towers begin to appear from the Forth.”
Mr Climie added with both these major works completed, the impact on local communities has been reduced other than at the proposed Echline Junction.”
Scottish transport minister Keith Brown added: “Keeping local communities affected by the ongoing works informed of progress is a crucial aspect of the project, and events like this week’s will help raise awareness of what to expect in the years ahead.”
*Members of the public have put forward over 6000 names for the new bridge. Entries closed on January 31.