Clock ticking down to grand Queensferry Crossing opening
Did you apply for the chance to walk across the new Queensferry Crossing?
If so, you will have found out over the past week whether or not you were lucky in the ballot for tickets, which closed last Wednesday.
More than 226,000 people applied for 50,000 free tickets which were made available to cross the bridge on foot on Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3. In total, there were 82,198 entries for up to four tickets, meaning applications averaged around three tickets each.
Those successful in the ballot had just 48 hours to confirm if they still wished to take part before the tickets were opened up to others who were not successful first time round.
Those successful will be allocated a day, a time slot, and information on where to park at a designated ‘travel hub’ on either side of the Forth.
They will then be transferred by bus to the bridge and have one hour to cross before being collected at the other end of the span and taken back to their travel hub.
The Quensferry Crossing bridge walks are the only opportunity members of the public will have to get close to the bridge other than actually driving across it.
And that will happen in just 46 days as Wednesday, August 30 has been earmarked as the day the bridge will open to traffic.
But only for three days so as to allow the walks to go ahead over the weekend.
On these days, traffic will revert back to the Forth Road Bridge, before it becomes a facility solely for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.
While the date for the official opening is still undecided it is expected the Queen may open the facility on September 4, to coincide with the 53rd anniversary of the opening of the Forth Road Bridge, which she also opened in 1964.
Scottish Economy Secretary Keith Brown recently met with workers from both the Forth Replacement Crossing project and veterans of the construction of the Forth Road Bridge at the new crossing.
He said: “It is fitting to be able to make this announcement (the opening date) alongside some of those who built the Forth Road Bridge and those who are building the Queensferry Crossing.
“What is being achieved on the Forth today, like what was achieved 53 years ago, is a testament to the expertise and the endeavour of those who have designed and built these bridges.
“This marks the beginning of the end of a 10 year process for this project. Starting with the early Forth Crossing studies, the Act of Parliament, design, procurement, through to work beginning on site in August 2011.
“Excitement and anticipation will build in the month ahead as people prepare to walk and drive over this bridge for the first time.”
Michael Martin, project director for the consortium building the Queensferry Crossing, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) said: “The Queensferry Crossing is one of the world’s great bridges.
“It’s the largest bridge of its type and its fast track design and construction has presented many challenges.
“The safety of our workforce, who have worked relentlessly through the hostile weather conditions in the Forth estuary to deliver the earliest completion of this project, has always been our number one priority and it will continue to be so as move towards the completion of the project.”
In 2006-7, Transport Scotland carried out the Forth Replacement Crossing Study to examine a wide range of options for replacing the Forth Road Bridge.
The result of this study was the decision, announced in December 2007, to build a new cable-stayed bridge to the west of the FRB.
The Forth Crossing Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament in November 2009, the same month as the procurement process – one of the biggest the Scottish Government had ever undertaken – got under way.
The Principal Contract to design and build the new bridge and connecting roads was awarded in April 2011 to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium with a successful tender price of £790 million, significantly below the original estimated price range of £900 – £1.2 billion.
Over the years the cost of the The Queensferry Crossing has risen to £1.35 billion, a figure which also includes the roads infrastructure on both the north and south sides of the bridge.
The bridge will span 2.7km over the Firth of Forth, including the approach viaducts.
There is 23,000 miles of cabling - almost enough to wrap around the circumference of the earth, suspended from the bridge’s three towers.
The Queensferry Crossing, upon completion, will be the tallest bridge in the UK at 207 metres above high tide – or 22 London buses stacked end to end – that’s 50 metres higher than the Forth Road Bridge.
The bridge deck carries two general lanes of traffic in each direction alongside hard shoulders to ensure that breakdowns and maintenance work do not cause severe congestion.