Falling ice warning on Queensferry Crossing

The Queensferry Crossing.
The Queensferry Crossing.

Lothian MSP Miles Briggs has warned of possible chaos for motorists this winter if their car windscreens are hit by falling ice from cables on the Queensferry Crossing.

Transport Minister Michael Matheson has confirmed sensors which detect ice accumulation will be fitted to the £1.3 billion bridge in a bid to avert the problem which saw three car windscreens smashed by falling ice last winter.

Mr Briggs is alarmed that the Scottish Government haven’t already fitted the required sensors after learning of a similar scenario in Canada.

And, as a result, he fears there could be chaos on the Queensferry Crossing this winter with lane closures being used in the event of falling ice from the bridge’s cables.

The Scottish Conservative Lothian List MSP said: “The build up of ice and the risk to motorists using the bridge is a hazard that should have been considered before the bridge was opened to traffic.

“With winter having arrived and temperature set to plummet it is urgent that these sensors are installed to detect the build up of ice.

“In other countries, such as Canada, they have encountered the same problem as the Queensferry Crossing and they have been able to find a solution.

“Solid blocks of ice falling on motorists’ cars is hugely dangerous and all necessary steps must be taken to ensure the safety of motorists using the Queensferry Crossing.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman played down concerns.

He said: “Ice build-up of this kind has not been an issue on the other Scottish cable-stayed bridges, Erskine and Kessock, and historically has been very rare in the UK. Ice sensors will be installed as soon as possible

“In the event of icy conditions in the future, the bridge will be closely monitored, informed by our investigations into last year’s ice accumulation, using data from weather stations and public safety will be prioritised.

“We continue to explore international best-practice and possible methods of preventing ice build-up in the future.

“Close to 80,000 vehicles have been using the Queensferry Crossing every day since 2017.

“The new wind barriers have undoubtedly delivered a more resilient crossing during severe weather.

“It has remained open to high-sided vehicles and HGVs on over 30 occasions when the Forth Road Bridge would have been closed or restricted.”

The spokesman added the bridge’s structural health monitoring system is expected to be fully commissioned and operational later this year.