Queensferry Crossing still on course to open by end of August

The Queensferry Crossing (left) was due to have opened last December. Picture: Transport Scotland
The Queensferry Crossing (left) was due to have opened last December. Picture: Transport Scotland
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Good weather has averted any further delays to the late-running Queensferry Crossing, MSPs were told today

The £1.35 billion replacement for the Forth Road Bridge is still scheduled to open between the middle of July and the end of August, economy secretary Keith Brown confirmed.

He said the bridge would be opened as soon as possible, but there were "too many variables" to be able to be more specific, including the weather.

Mr Brown told the rural affairs and connectivity committee: "Until we have real confidence about the opening date, we do not want to go public with that."

However, committee convener Edward Mountain noted the cabinet secretary was scheduled to provide a further update to the committee on 28 June, and details might be provided then.

Forth Crossing Building Constructors consortium project director David Climie said: "April and May has been very dry, which has helped us with waterproofing and surfacing."

The bridge was originally due to have opened last December, but it was postponed to May by bad weather hampering construction.

In March, further bad weather also put back the May date.

Mr Brown said he visited the bridge on 19 May and had been "hugely impressed" by the progress being made.

He said once it opened, all traffic would initially use the Queensferry Crossing while the Forth Road Bridge was prepared as a "public transport corridor" for buses and taxis.

During that three to four week period, the speed limit on the new bridge would be reduced to 50mph.

Following that, it would be raised to 70mph and the Queensferry Crossing will become a motorway.

The limit on the Forth Road Bridge was 50mph, but it has been reduced to 40mph during the project.

The new bridge was ordered by ministers because of fears that corrosion of the main cable of the Forth Road Bridge would leave it too weak to carry heavy lorries, and the damage caused from carrying twice as many vehicles for which it was designed.