Calls to act on rule flouters after Forth Road Bridge closure

The bridge is closed in both directions due to a lorry. Picture; Traffic Scotland
The bridge is closed in both directions due to a lorry. Picture; Traffic Scotland
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The second lorry to be blown over on the Forth Road Bridge in two months has prompted new calls for action against drivers who flout high-wind restrictions.

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The crossing was shut for several hours yesterday after the northbound lorry’s trailer toppled over in 55mph gusts around 2:50pm.

The southbound carriageway was also closed because of fears the trailer could be blown across the bridge into oncoming traffic.

Warning signs were operating at the time, after winds exceeded the 50mph limit for high-sided vehicles.

The incident followed a juggernaut being blown over in January, which closed the bridge for 19 hours. The driver of that vehicle was charged with dangerous driving.

The head of a West Lothian firm yesterday called for police to intercept vehicles attempting to cross the bridge during high-wind restriction periods.

UK Accident Repair Group chief executive Grant Phillips said: “The police need to be proactive in this situation, not as we are at present, reactive.

• READ MORE: Lorries defying wind limits may face tougher penalties

“We have now had two incidents in fewer than 12 weeks and it is down to good fortune rather than good management that we have not seen fatalities.

“Whether it will be third time lucky only time will tell, unless we act now before we read a very different headline.”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf is considering introducing penalties for drivers flouting restrictions, because current warnings are only advisory.

Transport Scotland said: “We are looking to establish a clearer picture of the extent of non-compliance and this will inform our next steps in terms of education and deterrent measures.”

Police Scotland said officers were required all over the trunk road network during bad weather.

Chief Superintendent Andy Edmonston, head of road policing, said: “Road policing officers routinely patrol the trunk road network, including the Forth Road Bridge, and will take action against drivers and operators who are found to be ignoring the signage or committing other traffic offences.

“In addition, [bridge operator] Amey monitors the bridge 24/7 and will call police in should any issues arise.

“We did not have a presence at either end of the Forth Road Bridge at the time of today’s incident and we would not routinely do so.

“While we would respond to specific requests for assistance from the bridge operator, there are sufficient signs on the approach to the bridge from all directions to adequately inform bridge users of any full or partial closure.”