WEEKEND delays on the Forth Road Bridge are to be minimised by completing emergency repairs on the main cables using early morning lane closures scheduled for routine maintenance.
However, very long delays are still expected over four weekends starting next Saturday, April 21, when major resurfacing works on the M90 will be carried out as part of the Forth Replacement Crossing project.
Work to provide access for emergency repairs on the Forth Road Bridge will now be completed at the same time as routine maintenance scheduled every Saturday and Sunday morning from April 21/22 April through to October 20/21. Traffic on the bridge will be restricted to a single lane in both directions from first light until 10.30am on these weekends.
The emergency repairs were originally scheduled after bridge inspectors discovered damage to some of the bolt assemblies that secure the bridge’s vertical hanger ropes to the main suspension cables.
Repairs have now been completed at the most critical location but further work is still required elsewhere on the structure.
Barry Colford, chief engineer and bridgemaster, said: “By learning from the success of the work we’ve carried out to date we’ve been able to refine our processes and are now confident that we can complete the job in a shorter timescale. Increased daylight hours will also allow us to begin work earlier.
“This means that extended weekend traffic restrictions will not be necessary and we can use off-peak lane closures originally planned for routine maintenance.
Resurfacing of the M90 to the north of the bridge is expected to cause very long delays over the next few weekends and the advice is to avoid using this route if at all possible on these dates.
“However, after the M90 work is complete we’re hopeful that we can minimise any delays to users of the bridge.
‘‘Some delays are still likely around mid-morning on Saturdays, but we will be making every effort to remove the cones as early as possible.
“Having said this, accidents and breakdowns are always possible and I would always advise motorists to allow plenty of extra time if they need to cross the bridge for an important engagement.”