Traffic chaos as Queensferry Crossing closes with 34-mile diversions via Kincardine Bridge

The Queensferry Crossing wasa closed to traffic due to the danger of falling ice
The Queensferry Crossing wasa closed to traffic due to the danger of falling ice

The Queensferry Crossing is still closed to all traffic but engineers have advised that they are hoping to reopen it today at some point (Wednesday, February 12).

Motorists travelling southbound are advised to divert via the A985 to the Kincardine Bridge and the M9, and the reverse for northbound traffic.

Operating Company Amey and operational partners are working closely to monitor and assess the situation.

The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity has visited the Queensferry Crossing to be given an update on the efforts to reopen the bridge.

Michael Matheson spoke with engineers at the bridge site and officials at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry.

Mr Matheson said: “Engineers have been closely monitoring and studying the unique weather conditions causing this issue with a build-up of snow and ice on the Queensferry Crossing.

“We are developing our understanding of these conditions, which involve a certain consistency of snow and/or sleet, wind speed and direction, interacting fluctuating low temperatures. This is leading to an ice formation on the bridge’s towers and cables at low temperature which has subsequently fallen from the bridge when thawed.

“We are doing all we can to mitigate the impacts of this closure. A diversion route is in place via the Kincardine bridge and I would encourage those travelling from further away more strategic destinations – Perth or Dundee to Glasgow for example, to consider an alternative route avoiding the main diversion where possible.

“We continue to work closely with public transport providers to provide alternative transport and additional capacity. Working in partnership we have strengthened the public transport offering across the Forth between the Lothians and Fife. Additional buses are in operation, including additional bus services from rail stations which are experiencing higher than normal demand.

“The Forth Road Bridge (FRB) remains open as a public transport corridor into the city from Fife. The decision has been taken to not reopen the FRB to general traffic given it is currently undergoing significant renovation work on the main expansion joints and has a contraflow in operation.

“Opening the FRB up to general traffic is likely to result in increased congestion for all vehicles and leave the crossing vulnerable to lengthy delays as a result of any accidents or breakdowns. This would have a significant negative impact on journey times for public transport over the Forth.

“Looking ahead we will implement constant monitoring of the Queensferry Crossing, when similar weather conditions are expected. With a particular focus on the areas we now know as vulnerable to this ice accumulation. We are taking steps to improve our traffic management response to any incidents so that ice can be cleared and any risk minimised.

“Given the weather forecast for similar cold conditions, we expect this will be during the course of Wednesday (February 12) and we will provide further updates as soon as they become available. Safety of the travelling public is paramount and we will reopen the bridge as soon as it is safe to do so.

“I appreciate the frustration this closure may cause and I very much appreciate the public’s patience and co-operation at this time.”

Mark Arndt, Account Director for operating company Amey, said: “The decision was taken to close the Queensferry Crossing due to the severe weather conditions and risk of falling ice and snow.

“We are aware of eight vehicles that suffered damage due to falling ice and snow, however there have been no injuries reported.

“We appreciate this closure will create disruption for drivers, however, we are asking drivers to use an alternative mode or route for their safety due to the continued weather conditions. We will assess conditions and open the bridge at the earliest opportunity once it is safe to do so. We thank drivers for their patience.”

The Multi-Agency Response Team, based at the Traffic Scotland National Control Centre in South Queensferry, is operational for the duration of the warning to monitor conditions and help deploy response teams where necessary. Traffic Scotland will continue to provide updates on social media, website and radio broadcasts.

The Gazette understands that extra rail carriages are being added to existing services to help cope with demand.

For the latest information visit my.trafficscotland.org