TRAVEL chaos was expected around the Forth Road Bridge today as the first of three weekend road closures began last night to allow the construction of the new Queensferry Crossing.
Motorists were asked to avoid travelling on the Forth Road Bridge today if possible and were warned that there could be “considerable delays” in the area.
The bridge will be restricted to one lane in each direction for local access only until 6am on Monday, while the A90 and M90 (M9 spur) will be closed in both directions south of Echline Junction.
This weekend is the first of three dates earmarked for road closures to allow the demolition of the old B800 bridge between South Queensferry and Kirkliston.
A statement issued by the operators of the Forth Road Bridge said: “During the closure the Forth Road Bridge will remain open for local access only. All road users are advised that considerable delays are expected in the vicinity of the Forth during these closures and they should use the alternative diversion routes via Kincardine or, from further afield, by diverting at Perth and using the A9/M9 to travel south of the Forth.”
Steven Brown, roads and infrastructure manager for Transport Scotland, said: “The team intends to demolish the old B800 bridge over three weekends, avoiding Remembrance Sunday. We will work closely with our contractor to ensure every effort is made to reduce the duration of the closure and to lift the restrictions as early as is possible.
“Our team have liaised closely with City of Edinburgh Council and Transport Scotland’s operating companies to co-ordinate maintenance on the adjacent road network, again with the aim of minimising the overall disruption to road users in the area.”
Diversion routes will be via the M9, Kincardine Bridge and the A985. Local access between South Queensferry, Kirkliston and Dalmeny will remain available.
Amey, the Forth bridges operating company, said it will take advantage of the closures to carry out essential maintenance on the Forth Road Bridge and its approaches, including inspection and cleaning, repairs to steelwork and surfacing, and resurfacing the A90 near Dalmeny. It claimed that this would “significantly” reduce the need for additional restrictions at a future date.
Extra train carriages will be laid on to help ease the congestion as more people turn to alternative methods of crossing the Forth.
A ScotRail spokeswoman said: “We will be adding extra coaches where possible, focusing on the busiest trains on each of the affected Sundays.”
Similar road closures have been scheduled for 31 October to 1 November, and on 14-15 November.