Emergency work on bridge delays traffic

EMERGENCY repair work on the Forth Road Bridge is making “good progress”, the bridge authority has said.

Motorists were warned to avoid the area yesterday as the bridge was reduced to one lane in each direction.

The repairs were originally scheduled for last weekend after an inspection identified cracked nuts at both ends of one of the bolts that attach the vertical hanger ropes to the bridge’s main suspension cables.

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However, high winds meant work had to be postponed.

A spokesman for the bridge authority said it was fully reopened just after noon yesterday.

There had been fears that if there were further delays to the repairs, the work would have to be extended to a weekday, raising the prospect of significant disruption to motorists.

Similar restrictions will be in place today, with traffic again being reduced to a single lane until noon.

Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the bridge using the west footpath.

Weekend traffic restrictions will also be in place on 31 March and 1 April, and on two further weekends after Easter on dates which are yet to be confirmed.

Barry Colford, chief engineer and bridgemaster, said: “These emergency repairs are essential – if we don’t get them completed at the earliest opportunity then we could face far more disruptive and costly repairs at a future date.

“If the weather forecast is accurate then work will proceed as planned. However, there is always the possibility of strong winds disrupting progress when you’re working on the main cable 80 metres above the carriageway.

“If work is delayed for any reason then traffic restrictions will be extended into the afternoon, or as a last resort into the next available weekday between 9am and 4pm.”