Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Queensferry Crossing 'improving reliability'

Queensferry Crossing Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queensferry Crossing was designed to withstand high winds

The Queensferry Crossing has remained open on 20 occasions when the Forth Road Bridge would have been forced to close due to high winds, according to transport chiefs.

The new crossing over the Forth opened on 20 August 2017.

It was fitted with wind barriers to allow high-sided traffic to continue to cross in bad weather.

Transport Scotland said this had allowed the bridge to withstand high winds on 20 occasions since it opened.

The agency also said journey times have settled on the new route, with the deck of the bridge having two lanes in each direction as well as hard shoulders so breakdowns do not cause congestion.

The new bridge also allows buses to be moved from the Forth Road Bridge in high winds or other dangerous weather conditions.

The Queensferry Crossing is also a designated motorway, unlike the Forth Road Bridge, which means learner drivers and motorbikes under 50cc are not allowed on it.

The new crossing now takes the bulk of traffic over the Forth, with the old bridge being used mainly by buses, taxis, motorbikes and emergency vehicles, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.

Image copyright Traffic Scotland
Image caption A lorry was blown over on the Forth Road Bridge in March of last year after defying a high sided vehicle ban during high winds

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said it was how !easy to forget the frequent and often severe disruption that we witnessed in the past on the Forth Road Bridge".

He added: "The wind shielding on the Queensferry Crossing is doing exactly what it was intended to do. This improved reliability is delivering benefits for the economy, businesses and commuters."

And Martin Reid, policy director of the Road Haulage Association said the reliability of the new crossing had been "absolutely vital in maintaining the fluid movement of goods."

Mr Reid said: "The Queensferry Crossing is a vital connection for deliveries to ports, retail parks, supermarkets, distribution centres and distilleries across the whole of the east side of Scotland as well as being a vital arterial route for our exports moving south."

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