Commuters face roadworks from hell as new Forth bridge is built
COMMUTERS on the Forth Road Bridge face major disruption during changes to a key junction as part of building the replacement crossing.
Transport Scotland believes rebuilding the Ferrytoll interchange just north of the bridges will be the most difficult part of the entire 2.3 billion scheme, The Scotsman has learned.
Project manager Lawrence Shackman said remodelling the junction where roads from the two bridges meet may be "more complicated and challenging than the bridge itself".
He said traffic on the A90 would have to be kept flowing during construction work and access maintained for cars and buses using the 1,000-space park-and-ride site beside the interchange.
Connecting roads will account for one-third of the project's total cost. The work will involve moving the dual carriageway from flowing towards the bridge to flowing on to the new crossing, which is due to open in late 2016.
Traffic using the current bridge – which will be restricted to buses and taxis – will use new slip roads at Ferrytoll to leave and join the A90. Buses will be allowed to use hard shoulders on the A90, and M90 to the north, to beat queues.
The A90 will also be widened to three lanes in each direction for a mile north to the Admiralty junction.
Motoring groups last night said traffic must be kept moving at all costs once construction of the new bridge starts in two years' time.
Nearly 70,000 vehicles a day use the current bridge, with southbound queues in the morning rush hour often tailing back well beyond Ferrytoll.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research for the Institute of Advanced Motorists' Motoring Trust, said: "Nothing is ever easy at the Forth Road Bridge.
"There is no alternative to keeping the traffic moving at Ferrytoll, and Transport Scotland must find innovative solutions to the problem.
"As the current tram roadworks in Edinburgh show, drivers soon lose patience with a long-term project if it brings years of travel misery before the benefits are delivered."
Philip Gomm, a spokesman for the Royal Automobile Club Foundation, said: "What hard-pressed Scottish motorists want more than anything is certainty. The key to this will be to set a firm timescale for these complex works and then leave road users in no doubt of what lies in store for them during the course of the project.
"If, after the work has started, unforeseen problems arise, there must be enough flexibility in the plan to allow it to adapt to keep traffic moving.
"During the tender process, Transport Scotland should ensure those bidding for the contract preferably have a proven record in delivering this type of complicated scheme."
Mr Shackman, who was speaking at a transport engineering conference in Glasgow, also revealed that a parliamentary bill for the scheme will be lodged at Holyrood in November.
He said the new bridge was likely to be floodlit from the windshielding, which will protect its carriageways so all vehicles can continue crossing during high winds.
Alan Seywright, project director for Jacobs Arup, a consortium of consultants overseeing the scheme, told the conference the "most challenging" aspect of the bridge itself was the southernmost of its three towers, whose base would be 130ft below the waterline because of the water and mud depth.
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