Motorists held up at Queensferry Crossing one in every three days

Frustrated commuters in the Lothians have faced hold-ups in one out of every three days on the new £1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing since it opened, new figures show.

There were 121 days of lane restrictions on the key trunk road last year, according to figures released by the Scottish Government.

Some of the roadworks have lasted up to two-and-a-half weeks, prompting opposition claims of “mismanagement” of the project by SNP ministers.

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And the situation shows little sign of improvement, after 57 days of restrictions in the first half of this year.

Traffic on the Queensferry Crossing at rush hour. Picture: Library

Long tailbacks on the flagship crossing have been an unwelcome feature for drivers since it was opened in August 2017. Finishing works will continue beyond the second anniversary of its opening to the public.

Tory MSP for mid-Scotland and Fife, Dean Lockhart, said: “These figures provide definitive proof that since it opened, drivers using the Queensferry Crossing have been consistently hampered by delays and restrictions.

“The least commuters could have expected from the new crossing was that it would help them get to work on time, but this simply hasn’t been the case.

“Instead there have been consistent lane closures causing lengthy and consistent delays.

“The SNP’s haste and mismanagement when it comes to this project is to blame and they need to explain when they think they will get on top of these issues.”

The worst month for hold-ups was May last year when 26 out of 31 days were affected by lane restrictions. April of this year saw 14 days of lane restrictions. The duration of the works have varied from four minutes to 17 days and there could be more than one restriction in place on one day, according to the figures published by the government website under environmental regulations.

A spokesman for national transport agency Transport Scotland said: “Nearly 80,000 vehicles use the Queensferry Crossing each day and, since opening, there have been over 20 occasions when it has remained open when the Forth Road Bridge would have been closed or restricted for HGVs.

“The new crossing is delivering clear economic benefits for both industry and commuters, a fact recognised by the road haulage industry.

“As is standard on any major trunk road carrying this level of daily traffic, there has been a wide variety of reasons for lane restrictions on the Queensferry Crossing since 2018, including accidents, breakdowns, roadworks and the removal of hazardous items.”

The vast majority of lane restrictions for maintenance works are outside of peak times.

It has already been confirmed that work to complete the remaining tasks on the bridge will not be completed until October this year – and builders will not be clear of the crossing until December.

Snagging and finishing work on the £1.35bn bridge between Edinburgh and Fife was originally due to have been completed in September – a year after it opened. Painting, lighting and concreting are among the outstanding tasks that have caused hold-ups. Completion of some of the tasks such as drainage and lighting have already been put back three times.