A guarantee has been given by Nicola Sturgeon there will be no more peak-hour lane closures on the Queensferry Crossing from Thursday as she faced a barrage of criticism over fresh works on the new bridge.
At First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Ms Sturgeon was attacked over the revelation the £1.35 billion bridge would be partially closed for surfacing work for five full days.
Transport officials said more lane restrictions could be expected on the crossing over the next ten months due to “snagging” issues, which Ms Sturgeon likened to the problems encountered when moving into a new house.
At Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon came under attack from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who claimed ministers had failed to come clean about the problems affecting the bridge.
Ms Sturgeon said the work beginning last night was the only “identified” problem requiring peak-time lane closures.
“Any future lane closures that can’t be avoided will be at night, not during the day, and not during peak hours,” she said.
Work is scheduled to be finished by 6am this coming Wednesday. During that time, southbound traffic heading towards Edinburgh will use the Forth Road Bridge, while northbound traffic will use the Queensferry Crossing.
Earlier this week Transport Scotland told a Holyrood committee that issues with road surfacing were known about in August – before the crossing’s opening – but a solution was not found until a “couple of weeks” ago.
Yesterday, Ms Sturgeon compared the problems with moving house.
“Anybody who has ever moved into a new house knows that snagging is required on construction projects,” she said. “There is snagging work to be done. The project director told parliament in June that there would be a period of three to six months of snagging work. That is being carried out.”
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “What jars here is the way that they [ministers] pushed through the opening of this bridge in the summer and claimed it as a symbol of SNP competence, but now there’s a problem it’s ‘don’t look at us, we’re just the Scottish Government’. In September it was job done and pats on the back all round, but on Monday we were told there would be another five days of work needed and yesterday those five days became another ten months.”