Ice sensors to be installed on Queensferry Crossing

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Queensferry CrossingImage source, Getty Images

Ice sensors will be installed on the Queensferry Crossing "in the coming months" following its two-day closure.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson told MSPs a five-point plan is being put in place to monitor the condition of the bridge in winter weather.

This includes monitors to gauge if snow and ice is accumulating on the bridge structure.

The option of using the Forth Road Bridge in the event of another closure - which was set aside as a public transport corridor after the opening of the crossing - is also being explored.

At least three car windscreens were smashed by falling ice and snow during bad weather conditions which closed the bridge for the first time since it was opened in August 2017.

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Matheson said the impact of the bridge closure was being assessed by his officials.

He added: "I understand and recognise the difficulties that it caused people and I very much regret that.

"Initial learning from the event on 10 February has resulted in a five-point plan being put in place to further enhance monitoring and gather increased intelligence from the observations.

"Visual monitoring remains the primary source of understanding the effects of these conditions and this will be assisted by the installation of ice sensors in the coming months."

Image source, Graeme Stevenson
Image caption,
Driver Graeme Stevenson's car windscreen was smashed by ice falling from the bridge

Speaking after the closure, Transport Scotland officials said a "very specific" combination of wind direction, temperature and relative humidity had caused snow and ice to build up on the cables, making it "really challenging" to predict.

The Forth Road Bridge remained open for public transport during the Queensferry Crossing closure but it was not possible to divert general traffic on to it as it is undergoing significant renovation work.

Mid Scotland and Fife Green MSP Mark Ruskell said the bridge's closure "exposed our reliance on the private car".

He added: "The Scottish government needs to put their promises on public transport into action and embed an overall modal shift away from private cars and onto public transport into a resilience plan for the bridge."