Warning of disruption to road bridge users

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WORK to remove a canopy from the north main tower of the Forth Road Bridge is set to disrupt overnight traffic in the weeks ahead.

Work is scheduled to start next Thursday, January 21, to remove the ‘‘dropped object’’ canopy which is erected above the two carriageways.

Traffic will be restricted to a single lane in each direction from approximately 8pm through to 6am every weekday until the end of March.

These restrictions are not expected to cause any significant delays to traffic.

There will also be seven full closures of the bridge required during the hours of 12.30-3.30am between now and March.

The first of these closures is planned to take place on the mornings of Wednesday, January 30, with the others on Thursday, January 31, Friday, February 1, Wednesday, February 20, Wednesday, March 6, Thursday, March 7, and Friday, March 8.

These dates are subject to change in the event of adverse weather.

Anyone planning to travel at these times is advised to check the Forth Road Bridge website for 
updates and plan accordingly.

The removal of the ‘‘dropped object’’ canopy is necessary following the completion of the project to repaint the bridge’s main towers.

This was carried out by the bridge authority’s in-house maintenance team, beginning on the south tower in 2006.

A specially designed platform surrounding the towers was winched 156 metres to the top and the painters gradually worked their way down.

The ‘‘dropped object’’ canopy was required to protect traffic passing underneath.

In 2010 it was dismantled and reassembled at the north tower.

Barry Colford, chief engineer and bridgemaster, said: “The main towers are looking better than ever thanks to the efforts of our maintenance team.

‘‘This was a complex operation because of the need to work at height in a highly exposed environment while the traffic kept flowing underneath.

“Our painters take great pride in their work and have risen to every challenge, not least the harsh weather we routinely experience here.

‘‘During the summer months the team was up at the crack of dawn making the most of any favourable weather.

‘‘In winter it was necessary to tie everything down and wait for better conditions.

“The team has now moved on to work on other parts of the structure – the old saying about the Forth Bridge applies equally well to its younger sibling!”