An expected high drop-out rate among those winning Queensferry Crossing walk tickets means many unsuccessful applicants could yet get places, The Scotsman has learned.
More than 226,000 people have applied for the 50,000 free passes, but as many as 40 per cent of those allocated tickets may not take them up.
The final applications figure was announced yesterday after the ballot for places closed on Wednesday.
There were 82,198 entries for up to four tickets, meaning applications averaged around three tickets each.
The winners were chosen at random and are being notified by email.
They must confirm within 48 hours that they still wish to take part in the “Queensferry Crossing Experience” walks on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September.
Those successful will receive all the tickets they applied for, but will have to accept the time slots they have been allocated.
The Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said it expected a drop-out rate of up to 40 per cent, based on similar events.
That could mean as many as 20,000 tickets being re-allocated at random to those who missed out. Transport Scotland said the process was expected to be completed by next Thursday.
One unsuccessful applicant was told: “You have been added to our waiting list, therefore should any spaces become available you will receive an email notification to advise.”
However, a man from North Queensferry who won tickets for himself and his fiancée said: “Having grown up in the shadow of the two other bridges, it will be exciting to be part of the third one opening.”
Transport Scotland said 97 per cent of applicants had Scottish addresses.
Just over half – 51 per cent – were from postcodes neighbouring the bridge.
Some 5,180 people entered from addresses elsewhere in the UK and 437 from the rest of the world, including the United States, India and one from Slovakia.
The £1.35 billion replacement for the Forth Road Bridge is due to open to traffic on 30 August but then close again three days later for the walks on its carriageways.
The motorway bridge has no walkways or cycle paths.
Transport Scotland added that “preparations for a further official opening event are being made and will be announced when finalised”.
The Scotsman revealed last week the Queen is expected to officially open the bridge on Monday, 4 September – the 53rd anniversary of her opening the Forth Road Bridge.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “We’re delighted with the response to the Queensferry Crossing Experience. It really proves just how strongly the new bridge has captured the imagination of the public in the past decade of consultation, development and construction.
“To have a walking event of this scale is fantastic for all those successful in the ballot, providing a close-up view of the impressive new crossing and a unique way for people to be physically active.”