Experts look to ease congestion at Queensferry Crossing

Transport leaders are ready to take extra measures to improve traffic flow on the approaches to the Queensferry Crossing if the increased 70mph speed limit fails to sort out congestion.

The Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic in August

Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton says Transport Scotland recognises there are issues about motorists being slowed down by the road layout as they head for the new £1.35 billion bridge.

And after meeting them for talks, he said they were already planning some improvements.

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The bridge was hit by long queues when it first opened in September and Mr Cole-Hamilton admits traffic is still being slowed down at the point where the A90 from Edinburgh joins the M90 heading for the new Queensferry roundabout.

He said: “Until recently a lot of the attention has focused on the ‘snagging’ problems and bringing in the 70mph limit, but there are significant issues well-known to people who live near the crossing or use it regularly [which are] not yet addressed.”

He said the meeting with Transport Scotland was constructive, adding: “They recognise the Queensferry junction just before the bridge is causing tailbacks at the A904. They want to see what happens with the speed limit at 70mph, which might ease the pressure on that roundabout. But if it continues, they are willing to consider a box junction, where the road is marked with a yellow grid which motorists can enter only if the exit is clear.”

He said there was also the problem of traffic bringing down the general speed of vehicles on the main drag. It is hoped that technology due to be brought into operation in January will help ease that.

A system known as “ramp metering” uses detectors under the road which will automatically trigger traffic lights towards the bottom of the slip roads on the immediate approach to the bridge. The same technology will be used to help control the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) on the M90, detecting increases in traffic flows and adjusting to the variable mandatory speed limits on the overhead ITS gantries to aid traffic flow and improve safety.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We welcomed the meeting with Mr Cole-Hamilton to discuss issues raised by local residents. We are keeping the performance of the entire scheme and surrounding roads under review and can consider any appropriate changes provided they are safe, sensible and in keeping with the original objectives of the project.”