Scotland politics

Closures lifted on Queensferry Crossing

Queensferry Crossing Image copyright Getty Images

Work on the Queensferry Crossing has been halted as predicted high winds mean the Forth Road Bridge would have to shut at peak times.

This means closures on the new £1.35bn bridge to correct "snagging" issues have now been lifted.

The southbound carriageway was shut on Thursday to allow the work to go ahead.

Ministers only became aware part of the new bridge would have to be closed less than two weeks ago, despite transport officials knowing since August.

The bridge was officially opened by the Queen at the beginning of September.

Opposition parties hit out at the "snagging" issues, with Tory transport spokesman Jamie Greene questioning how the problems were "not brought to the forefront" sooner.

The work, which involves lifting the surface of the bridge around certain expansion joints, has now been stopped as high winds are predicted in the area.

During the closure, southbound traffic used the Forth Road Bridge and northbound traffic used the Queensferry Crossing.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "With the weather set to deteriorate over the coming days and with significant progress having been made on the snagging work we have decided to reprofile the work on the Queensferry Crossing, opening it to all traffic, to ensure that traffic continues to move across the Forth despite the weather.

"An increased risk of high winds at peak times could result in the need to restrict the traffic using the Forth Road Bridge."

Plan ahead

He added: "Given how important this time of year is to both businesses and the community, we have decided to reopen the Queensferry Crossing in both directions overnight on 4 December in order to avoid peak time disruption."

The closure comes as part of efforts to get traffic on the new crossing over the Forth travelling at speeds of up to 70mph before the end of the year.

Transport officials have said more lane restrictions can be expected on the crossing over the next 10 months, but are likely to be carried out in a way to minimise disruption.

Mr Yousaf added: "The snagging work remains on programme and we are on course to increase the speed limit on the bridge to 70mph by the end of the month and the remaining finishing work on the joints will be completed this week with only late night, off peak lane closures.

"While we do not anticipate delays outside of the normal peak traffic, as ever I would advise people to plan ahead and take account of traffic information before setting off."

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