Queensferry bridges set to close overnight
The Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Bridge will be closed to traffic on Saturday night to allow Transport Scotland’s operating company BEAR Scotland to test the implementation of an emergency diversion.
All traffic will be diverted via the Kincardine Bridge from 10pm on Saturday (December 12) until 8am on Sunday (Dec ember 13), adding an estimated 36 miles and 40 minutes to affected journeys. The west footpath on the Forth Road Bridge will remain open to cyclists and pedestrians.
Chris Tracey, BEAR Scotland’s South East Unit Bridges manager, said: “The purpose of this closure is to test how long it will take to implement an emergency diversion via the Forth Road Bridge in the event that the Queensferry Crossing has to be closed to traffic.
“This is a complex process involving removing roadside barriers and laying a large number of cones and signs, so we need to carry out a trial in order to measure precisely how long it will take and refine our procedures. This will allow us to implement a diversion as quickly and efficiently as possible when required.
“It has always been our intention to use the Forth Road Bridge as an emergency diversion route once its full capacity is available. We’ve been working with Police Scotland and our traffic management contractors to plan this test for some time.
“On-going work to replace the main expansion joints on the Forth Road Bridge means that it is not yet available, however work on the southbound carriageway is expected to be completed within the next few weeks. On this occasion we’ll therefore just be testing how long it takes to open up the diversion and close it again, without directing any traffic over the Forth Road Bridge. A further trial with traffic diverted over the Forth Road Bridge will be carried out later this winter.
“I’d like to thank bridge users in advance for their patience and understanding. We’ve scheduled this closure overnight in order to minimise disruption, however our advice if you do need to travel at this time is to plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey.”
Meanwhile, the Queensferry Crossing was closed last Friday morning from 4.45am - 9.05am due to falling ice.
Chris Tracey, BEAR Scotland’s South East Unit bridges manager, said: “The safety of bridge users comes first and we therefore made the decision to temporarily close the Queensferry Crossing when we identified a risk of falling ice.
“We constantly monitor conditions on the Queensferry Crossing in real time using a bespoke system of weather sensors on the towers and deck. At 04:30 this system reported conditions conducive for ice formation. Patrol staff observed ice falling from the bridge towers shortly after this and the bridge was closed at 04:45.”