Commuters could face more delays on the Forth Road Bridge in this evening’s rush hour as engineers continue to investigate a structural defect.
Traffic was reduced to one lane in each direction last night leading to tailbacks of more than five miles this morning.
The disruption to travel came after a routine inspection of the southbound carriageway found a “defect to a steel component.”
A bridge spokesman said: “It is possible the restrictions will remain in place across this evening’s peak period, and we would ask people to take this into account when they are planning their journeys.
“This is not something we have seen before, and we can’t take chances with safety. If that joint is not functioning properly, it could transfer stress elsewhere on the bridge.
“We also do not want to risk further damage to the joint.”
Abnormal loads have been temporarily banned from the bridge and the footpath and cycle tracks are closed, with patrol vans transporting cyclists who need to cross.
Amey operating company representative Mark Arndt said: “We apologise for the short notice to these essential traffic restrictions and are aware they will result in very long delays, so our advice is to avoid Forth Road Bridge and divert via Kincardine or the A9 and M9, use public transport or travel outwith peak times.
“We do sympathise with all drivers who face delays, however I’m sure everyone appreciates that safety must come first.
“Drivers did take heed of the warning this morning and we would ask them to check the latest information before they set off on their journeys across the day.
“Traffic Scotland will have all of the latest information on their website and Twitter feed.”