Today (August 30) marks one full year since the Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic.
And new analysis released by Transport Scotland claims the UK’s tallest bridge is meeting its primary objective of delivering a more reliable crossing over the Firth of Forth.
The main operational features of the new bridge, such as wind shields and hard shoulders, were specifically designed and implemented to provide road users with a more reliable journey, in contrast to the long delays experienced in the past on the Forth Road Bridge as a result of the impact of high winds, accidents and breakdowns.
According to the report, since the new bridge opened, there have been 14 occasions when the FRB would have had to close to high sided vehicles.
In addition to the benefits of wind shielding, hard shoulders on the new bridge have reduced delays resulting from accidents and breakdowns. Analysis of journeys over both bridges has shown that the ability to respond to accidents and breakdowns and restore normal journey times has significantly improved since the Queensferry Crossing opened.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure & Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said: “The recent Audit Scotland report recognised the Queensferry Crossing as having delivered its objective of providing a more reliable road link between the Lothians and Fife. One year on since opening the new bridge, we have further evidence that shows how reliability of journeys over the Forth have improved in the last 12 months.
“This is in sharp contrast to the lengthy delays seen in the past on the Forth Road Bridge, where an accident or breakdown resulted in huge tailbacks and much longer journeys over the bridge and the surrounding road networks.
“There are clear and significant economic benefits from this reliable crossing for both industry and commuters alike. This reliability is in sharp contrast to the chaos seen during the closure of the FRB in 2015 which brought into sharp focus the need for a new crossing over the Forth.
“However, I am aware that our contractor is still carrying out remedial and finishing work at night and this has an impact on those travelling outside of peak hours. I understand the frustration of road users in this regard and I have asked Transport Scotland officials to write to the REC Committee when Parliament returns to provide an update on this work.”
Martin Reid of the Road Haulage Association said: “The importance of road transport to the Scottish economy and its supply chain cannot be overstated and so the Forth Crossing is a vital route to cities and major conurbations along the east coast.
“Closures over the Forth also adversely affect Scotland’s imports and exports, as the routes across the Forth are central to most of the east coast transit. There is little need to disguise the fact that the Queensferry Crossing remaining open during periods that would have closed the FRB has undoubtedly benefited our industry and the Scottish economy in general.”