Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Forth Road Bridge: Final repair work begins

Forth Road Bridge Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The bridge was closed to all traffic for 19 days in December 2015

Final work has started to replace the damaged structure that led to the closure of the Forth Road Bridge at the end of last year.

The busy crossing was shut to all traffic early in December when a crack in a truss end link was discovered during a routine inspection.

Temporary brackets were installed which allowed cars to use the bridge before Christmas last year.

Heavier vehicles were banned from the bridge until February.

The truss end links are now being replaced with a new permanent sliding bearing arrangement, contractors Amey said.

The strength of the temporary brackets means the work will be carried out with "minimal disruption to road users".

Image copyright Getty Images

A small number of overnight contraflows will be in place, but Amey said they had been scheduled at the same time as other planned maintenance.

Mark Arndt, from the Forth Bridges Unit, said: "The repairs carried out last winter were necessary to get the bridge back open to traffic as quickly and safely as possible.

"Since then, we've been planning and preparing for this permanent replacement, and it's remarkable that the team has reached this point less than nine months since the original defect was discovered.

"We'll press on now to get the job done with minimum disruption to bridge users."

A Scottish Parliament committee investigated the closure of the bridge last year and concluded the crack "could not have been foreseen".

The new Queensferry Crossing is due to open next year and will ease the traffic burden over the Forth Bridge.

It was initially due for completion at the end of 2016 but "adverse weather conditions" in April and May hit construction, ministers said.

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